The way we register to vote has changed
The process to register changed on 10 June 2014. The new process is called ‘Individual Electoral Registration’.
Please note: The deadline to apply to register to vote in the 2017 General Election has now passed.
How is the new system different?
- You can now register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
- The responsibility is now with the individual for registering. Under the old system the 'head of every household' could register everyone who lived at their address.
- You need to provide a few more details to register, including your national insurance number and date of birth. This makes the electoral register more secure.
How do I register under the new system?
- Go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
- Fill in your name, address, date of birth and a few other details. You will also need your national insurance number, which can be found on your national insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips , or letters about benefits or tax credits.
- Look out for a confirmation to say that you are registered.
The electoral register
Two versions of the register are now published, a full version and an open version.
The full and open registers were published on 17 February 2014.
The full register
The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. Anyone can look at it on council premises, but you cannot make a photocopy of the register and you can only take handwritten notes from it.
Only certain people and organisations can have copies of the full register, and they can only use it for specified purposes. These include electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime and checking your identity when you have applied for credit.
The law states who can have a copy of the full register and what they can use it for. Broadly speaking it is only used for elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit.
It is a criminal offence for them to pass it on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose other than those specified.
It is not possible to search the full register nationally, as the full registers are only available to view at each local electoral registration office.
The open register
The open register (previously known as the edited register) is an extract of the electoral register but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm the name and address. Cheshire West and Chester Council may use the information we hold for the prevention and detection of fraud, which also includes for the assessment and/or collection of any tax or duty. This will include sharing of information held internally and with external organisations where the law allows.
Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register would not affect your right to vote. If you wish your details to be removed from the electoral register, this request can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name and address. You can also complete the section 11 form by downloading a copy here for completion:
If your safety may be at risk if details are published on the voters list, you can register anonymously.
This option is suitable for people escaping domestic violence or for people whose occupation means they must keep their identity private. It is not intended for people who do not want their details sold on to third parties, they can ‘opt-out’ of the open register instead.
The anonymous registration scheme allows people to vote in person, by post or by proxy without their identity or their address being made public. It also enables those who live with someone who is at risk to register anonymously.
You must provide evidence to support your application. The evidence required is one of the following:
- A court order or injunction for your protection, which must be in force currently.
- Have your application supported by a qualified person, such as; a police officer of the rank of superintendent or higher in any police force in the UK; a Director General of the Security Services or the Serious Organised Crime Agency; or a Director of Adult Social Services or Children’s Services.
- A copy of a court order or attestation for someone at risk and proof that you live in the same household as that person.
If your application is successful, your name and address will not appear on the voters list. You will be sent a certificate of anonymous registration which you can send to credit reference agencies to prove your identity if you want to obtain credit or open a bank account.
Registration lasts for one year – at the end of this period you must renew your registration to retain your anonymity.
To apply for anonymous registration please complete and return the application form:
Alternatively you can contact the elections helpline on 01244 977084 for further advice or to request an application form.
For further information please contact our Democratic and Electoral Services team: