How to register to voteLast updated: 23 January 2013 10:22
Please browse this page for information on registering to vote at home or overseas.
Who can register to vote in the UK?
To register to vote you must be 16, although voters must be 18 or over. You must also be a British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union member state. Please check eligible nationalities in the list at the foot of the page.
How do I register to vote?
To register to vote you must complete an electoral registration form (available to download below) then return it to the address at the bottom of the page. Your name can then be added to the list of everyone that is registered to vote - the electoral register - which is published every year on 1 December then updated each month until September. From late August, every address in Portsmouth is sent an annual voter registration form.
How to register as an overseas voter
If you are a British citizen living abroad, you can apply to register as an overseas voter by completing a registration form (available to download below) and returning it to the address at the bottom of the page. To register you must have been registered at a UK address in the last 15 years. As an overseas voter you are eligible to vote in UK Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections - but not UK local elections. Overseas registrations are valid for one year, so need to be renewed.
If applying to register as an overseas elector for the first time, your application will need to be witnessed and signed by another British citizen living overseas. The witness should not be your husband, wife or other member of your immediate family. Please be aware that your postal voting pack will be sent around ten days before election day, so if you are posted overseas there may not be time for you to return your ballot papers by 10pm on election day.
Alternatively, you may prefer to nominate someone to vote on your behalf - read the 'voting by proxy' section on our voting page for more information.
How to register as a service voter
If you are a member of the armed forces, or a husband, wife or registered civil partner of a service voter, you have the option to register as a service voter. If you are often posted overseas, or if you move around frequently, registering as a service voter enables you to remain registered at a fixed UK address. Service voter registrations are valid for a period of five years.
You can apply to register as a service voter by completing a registration form and returning it to the address at the bottom of the page. As a service voter you also have the option to vote by post or to nominate someone to vote on your behalf - all forms are available to download below. If you choose to vote by post, you can have your ballot papers sent to an overseas or BFPO address. Please be aware that your postal voting pack will be sent around ten days before election day, so if you are posted overseas there may not be time for you to return your ballot papers by 10pm on election day.
If you nominate someone to vote on your behalf as proxy, you are still able to vote in person so long as your proxy has not already voted on your behalf. If your proxy is not able to attend the polling station that you are allocated to, they may apply to vote on your behalf by post, meaning you will not be able to attend the polling station to vote in person.
If you are already registered as a service voter but you have changed your correspondence address, please contact us in order that we can update your details.
If you have any questions concerning the above information please contact the Election Services Office.
Completed application forms should be returned to the following address:
Electoral Registration Officer | Electoral Services Office | Civic Offices | Guildhall Square | Portsmouth | Hants | PO1 2QR
Frequently asked questions
Can I search the electoral register online?
There are two versions of the Electoral Register; the full register and the edited register.
The full register lists the name and address of everyone who is registered to vote. Anyone is allowed to look at this copy of the register but it is a criminal offence to supply or use copies for purposes other than those set down in law. Credit reference agencies are entitled to a copy of the full register. It can be used for other specified purposes such as law enforcement, or the Audit Commission for the National Fraud Initiative data-matching exercise.
Portsmouth City Council is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and to this end may use the information you have provided on this form for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for those purposes. For more details please visit our National Fraud Initiative page.
It is possible to search the edited register using online commercial organisations. Please visit the Electoral Commission's site About my vote for further information.
When will my name be added to the electoral register?
When your application is received your name will be added to the register at the next update. The 2013 Register of Electors was published on 16 October 2012 and the table below shows the monthly update schedule for the register after publication.
|Applications received by||will be effective from|
|Thursday 10 January 2013||Friday 1 February 2013|
|Thursday 7 February 2013||Friday 1 March 2013|
|Monday 11 March 2013||Tuesday 2 April 2013|
|Tuesday 9 April 2013||Wednesday 1 May 2013|
|Friday 10 May 2013||Monday 3 June 2013|
|Friday 7 June 2013||Monday 1 July 2013|
|Wednesday 10 July 2013||Thursday 1 August 2013|
|Friday 9 August 2013||Monday 2 September 2013|
What if I move house?
The Register of Electors is not automatically updated when you notify the Council Tax section. To amend your details on the electoral register you should complete an electoral registration form with your new address.
If I pay council tax, am I registered to vote automatically?
No. The electoral register is not updated automatically if you pay council tax because the criteria are different. For example, the council tax may be paid by a landlord rather than residents of a property.
Please visit the Electoral Commission's site About my vote for more frequently asked questions.