Last updated:

19th October 2023

Electoral register

What is the electoral register?

The register of electors is the list of everyone who is registered to vote. The register is set out in property order, not by name. We have to carry out an annual audit of the register of electors, known as the 'annual canvass'.  The law says you must respond to the canvass form and there are penalties for not doing so. The updated register is then published on 1 December every year and then it is updated monthly. You must be on the register to vote in any elections and referendums. You are not automatically registered even if you pay Council Tax and if you have moved home you need to re-register.

We are required to produce 2 versions of the electoral register - the full register and the open register.

The full register

The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. It can be inspected by any member of the public under supervision at the Electoral Services counter. The law states who is entitled to a copy of the register and what it can be used for, including: electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime, checking your identity when you apply for credit.

The open register

The open register leaves out the names and addresses of those electors who have asked to be excluded from it. By law, it can be bought by anyone and used for any purpose, e.g. by Direct Mailing companies. To opt out, you need to tick the opt-out box on the registration form or write to us to tell us that you do not wish your name to be on the open register.

Voting anonymously

If you think that your name and address being on the electoral register could affect your safety, or the safety of someone in your household, you can register to vote anonymously. 

This means you will still be able to vote, but your name and address will not be on the electoral register and your electoral registration office will not disclose your details to anyone, unless they are legally required to.

To register to vote anonymously, you will need to:

Visit the  Electoral Commission website for full details of how to register to vote anonymously. 

Read about Data Protection information relating to Electoral Registration (PDF document).

Changing your details and registering to vote

To find out how to change your details or register to vote visit the register to vote page.

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