Coronavirus: council service information and advice
Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus
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?
Registering to vote is quick and easy.
You can register to vote online.
You will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and also your National Insurance Number. Your National Insurance Number can be found on your National Insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips, or letters about benefits or tax credits.
How to register as an overseas voter
If you are a British citizen living abroad, you can apply to register as an overseas voter. 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.
You can register to vote as an overseas voter online.
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 register to vote as a service voter online.
Can I search the electoral register online?
There are two registers. Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).
The electoral register
The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:
- detecting crime (such as fraud)
- calling people for jury service
- checking credit applications
The open register
The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but it 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 name and address details. 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 does not affect your right to vote.
More information about both registers and how they may be used can be found on Gov.UK.
How do I opt out of the open register?
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.
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