The electoral register is a list of people who are registered to vote and is maintained by the elections team at your local authority.
From 10 June 2014, each person will be responsible for their own registration under the new system of Individual Electoral Registration (IER)
You should register to vote if you are:
- 16 or over (you cannot vote until your 18th birthday);
- a British or Commonwealth citizen ; or
- a citizen of the Irish Republic or of another EU state.
Citizens of EU member states cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections and must fill in a separate form to vote in the European elections.
For details on registering as a service voter or overseas elector, please go to the Electoral Commission website.
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
This 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 – and for other limited purposes specified in law. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.
Who uses the electoral register?
- Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office.
- Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone can look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.
- The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.
- The register is used when calling people for jury service.
- Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.
- Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.
It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.
The current full electoral register is available for inspection under supervision at our four main council offices:
- Trowbridge - County Hall, Trowbridge - BA14 8JN
- Devizes - Crossmolina Buildings, Snuff Street, Devizes - SN10 1FG
- Salisbury - 27-29 Milford Street - SP1 2AP
- Chippenham - Council offices, Monkton Park - SN15 1ER
The open register
This is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It might be used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details for example. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation.The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.
Your name and address details will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register would not affect your right to vote.
Who uses the open register?
Users of the open register include:
- Businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online.
- Businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers.
- Charities and voluntary agencies, for example to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other.
- Charities, to help with fundraising and contacting people who have made donations.
- Debt-collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors.
- Direct-marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists.
- Landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants.
- Local councils when identifying and contacting residents.
- Online directory firms to help users of the websites find people, such as reuniting friends and families.
- Organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies.
- Private-sector firms to verify details of job applicants.
If you would like to buy the open register or any part of it, please contact the Electoral Registration office on 0300 456 0112 who will advise you of the costs.
Under the new individual electoral registration system, each person is responsible of their own registration and can decide whether they wish their details to appear on the open register or not. To change your option you can:
Register online at on the GOV.UK website
Email us: email@example.com
Since May 2001 anyone can apply for inclusion on the Register of Electors at any time during the year.
The dates below show when your details will appear on the register after sending in an application.
|Applications received by||Date added to register|
|Friday 7 February 2014||Monday 3 March 2014|
|Monday 10 March 2014||Tuesday 1 April 2014|
|Wednesday 9 April 2014||Thursday 1 May 2014|
|Friday 9 May 2014||Tuesday 2 June 2014|
|Monday 9 June 2014||Tuesday 1 July 2014|
|Thursday 10 July 2014||Friday 1 August 2014|
|Friday 8 August 2014||Monday 1 September 2014|
Please note if you wish to register because of an election in your area, you can register up to 12 days before the day of poll.
Please see our forthcoming elections page for current elections.
Fair processing statement
We will keep and use your personal information in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
This authority is under a duty to protect the public funds that it administers and may use the information you have provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies administering or in receipt of public funds, such as HM Revenues and Customs.
The council participates in data matching exercises through the National Fraud Initiative. These exercises match the data held by the council with that of other agencies, including other local authorities and government departments to:
- prevent or detect benefit fraud or any other crime
- support national fraud initiatives
- protect public fund
Read more about the National Fraud Initiative
Last updated: 6 August 2014