Published on

28 March 2024

Helping residents to vote anonymously at elections

You can register to vote anonymously and apply for an anonymous elector's document if you have concerns

Vote anonymously

Ahead of this year’s local elections on Thursday 2 May, Wokingham Borough Council is encouraging people to register to vote anonymously if they fear their safety would be at risk from their name or address appearing on the electoral register.

Due to the new requirement to bring photo ID to vote at a polling station, residents who register to vote anonymously, or who plan to register to vote anonymously, will also need to apply for an anonymous elector’s document (AED).

In addition to the local elections, which will see all 54 borough council seats up for contention this year, there is also an election for the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley on the same day.

There may also be parish council elections if there are any contested seats in Charvil, Finchampstead, Hurst or Ruscombe. A general election could also be called this year, but must be held by 28 January 2025.

If you are concerned that your safety or the safety of someone you live with might be at risk from being registered to vote, it does not have to stop you from participating in forthcoming elections.

Anonymous registrations only last for one year, so you must ensure you apply every year to ensure you don’t lose your vote.

Once registered to vote anonymously, the council will be in contact by post to explain the process and provide an application for the AED to be filled out and returned.

Applications need to be submitted before 5pm on Wednesday 24 April and the AED will need to be brought to the polling station. This means you do not need to show an additional form of photo ID when voting.

Andrew Moulton, returning officer at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “It is a busy year of elections and we want to help all residents be prepared. Part of that process is about being considerate to those who would rightly have concerns about appearing on the electoral register.

“However, that does not need to be a barrier to participating in the democratic process. With the anonymous elector’s document, you can ensure that your vote is protected without compromising your safety. We appreciate that for many people, this may be the first election where ID is needed, but this removes the need for any additional ID to be produced.”

When applying for an AED, residents will need to provide their name, date of birth, address and national insurance number. This information will remain confidential and not appear on the electoral register.

To register to vote anonymously, you will need to:

Apply as soon as possible in case the council needs to check any details. However, if you are already registered as an anonymous voter, or you register to vote anonymously, you will be contacted by the council to apply for an AED.

How to seek help

If you suspect that you, or someone know is experiencing domestic abuse, it is crucial to seek help.

The domestic abuse service in Wokingham Borough is provided by Cranstoun. It provides support to all those affected by domestic abuse, including children and young people, as well as offering help and advice to those who recognise the impact of their behaviour on the people closest to them and want to make changes.

You can call the support line on (0118) 402 1921, which is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Alternatively, you can email, complete an online referral or visit the council’s domestic abuse pages  for more information. In an emergency, call 999.

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