Registering to vote
You can register to vote all year round at Gov.uk.
It only takes five minutes and you just need your NI number, which can be found on your national insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips, or letters about benefits or tax credits.
When you register, you can apply to vote by post (no reason required) or by proxy (reason required).
After you register online, the electoral office where you live will follow up with you.
You need to register to vote when you turn 18
You need to re-register if you:
- move house
- change your name
- change your nationality
Updating the electoral register
Every year Cheshire West and Chester Council are required, by law, to send every property in the area a Household Enquiry form. This is called the annual canvass and it helps us make sure that residents at an address match our electoral register.
The Household Enquiry form may look like a council circular or a piece of junk mail, but please don't ignore it. By law, you have to respond – even if it shows the correct information. You even have to respond if the property is empty to tell us there are no current residents.
If you don’t respond, we are required to send reminders and canvassers to call at your house to collect the information. If you fail to provide the information, you could be fined up to £1,000.
Forms will be sent out to every property at the beginning of August. It will include a unique security code that you will need. Please respond immediately in one of the following ways:
- Visit: householdresponse.com/CWCC and enter part 1 and 2 of your security code
- Telephone: 0800 197 9871 and enter part 1 and 2 of your security code when prompted
- Text: 80212
- Complete the attached form and post it back for free in the envelope
Please note that the Household Enquiry form does not register you to vote, but it helps us create an updated list of potential voters for future elections or referendums. Financial institutions also check your identity based on the electoral register when you are applying for credit. They may reject your application if they cannot find you.
After the annual canvass we will also email you a registration application if you provide your email address on the enquiry form, however, for speed and ease, we strongly recommend you register online.
If you don’t register to vote online or use the emailed form, we will post you a form.
Persons with disabilities
If a person is blind or has another disability that prevents them from signing the enquiry form, it is fine for someone else to sign the form on their behalf. They should provide a short description of who they are underneath the signature.
UK residents abroad
If a member of your household is living abroad on a permanent basis, they should register as an overseas elector and be crossed off the Household Enquiry Form.
About the electoral register
Two versions of the register are published: full and open. The last full and open registers were published on 1 December 2017.
The full register
This register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. 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.
Anyone can look at the full register on council premises, and can only make handwritten notes from it. It is not possible to search the full register online. The full register is available to view at:
- The Forum Office, Chester
- The Library, Ellesmere Port
- Northwich Information Centre
- Wyvern House, Winsford
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 names and address.
Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for it to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
You can remove your details by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and stating your name and address. You can also fill out the Section 11 form and send it back to us:
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.
Complete information of the evidence you need to provide is available on the Electoral Commission website.
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 complete information on voting:
If you need help registering to vote or getting on the electoral list, or have any questions or concerns about the process, please contact the Democractic Services team at:
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone: 0300 1237045
- Post: Democratic Services, Cheshire West and Chester Council, 2nd floor HQ, 58 Nicholas Street, Chester CH1 2NP