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  4. Register to vote

Register to vote

Important changes are coming for the May 2023 local elections
All residents voting in person at the May 2023 elections will be required to show an acceptable form of ID to be able to vote. This does not affect postal voting. Find out more here.

It is quick and easy to register online. Please have your National Insurance number to hand.

Register to vote

If you are not on the electoral register you cannot vote. Not even if you are registered to pay council tax as this is an entirely separate process. Not being registered can also affect your credit rating.

Annual Canvass

The annual canvass allows the Council to keep the electoral register up to date, to identify who risks losing their voice at elections, and to encourage them to register before it’s too late. 

The Council will be contacting households via post in the coming months with information on what the householder needs to do to make sure their details are accurate.

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other reasons as specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service or checking credit applications.

To be eligible to register to vote a person must be:

  • aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18)
  • a British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave.
  • a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state

British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying Commonwealth citizens can vote in local elections in England and Northern Ireland, Mayor of London and London Assembly elections, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. 

EU nationals legally resident in the UK may currently register to vote in all elections. The Elections Act 2022 will change the eligibility of some EU citizens to vote. Changes are expected to be in place for local elections in England, Police and Crime Commissioners elections in England and Wales in 2024. Local elections in Northern Ireland and England in May 2023 are expected to be held on the current rules. 

The changes in voting rights for EU nationals will not affect voters from Cyprus, Malta and Ireland. 

Full details of the Electoral Commission’s research on the electoral registers can be found on its website.

Registration deadlines

You can register to vote or apply for a postal or proxy vote at any time. However, when an election or referendum is pending, there are deadlines which will be published here when necessary. 

The deadline for registering as an elector in order to vote at an election is twelve working days before the date of the poll. Even if you have missed a deadline, we recommend registering so your details are correct for any future elections, and because it can help your credit status.

Voting by post or proxy

If you cannot make it to the polling station on election day you can:

  • Apply for a postal vote: your ballot paper will be posted to you to fill in and return. The deadline for us to receive an applications for Postal voting and to change any existing arrangements is 5pm on the eleventh working day before the date of an election.
  • Apply for a proxy vote: You can appoint someone to vote on your behalf at an election as a proxy. A proxy application form will be made available here for specific elections or you can contact the Electoral Services team. The deadline for us to receive an application for Proxy voting 5pm on the sixth working day before the date of an election.

It is in your interest to apply as soon as you can. We must receive your emergency proxy vote application by 5pm on polling day. Please do not deliver your application to your polling station on polling day, as polling station staff cannot process emergency proxy vote applications.

The electoral register and your personal details

Using the information you provide, our registration officers keep two registers:

The electoral register

This lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote and is used for electoral purposes, and other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for Jury Service or checking credit applications.

The open register

This is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation 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.

We use the information you give us to create a new electoral register each year which we publish in December. Any new residents added to your form still need to apply to register to vote and we will contact them.

Once you’ve registered to vote you don’t need to register again unless you change address. You should also inform us if any of your details change such as your name if you marry, or get divorced.

Not being registered to vote can impact on applications for mortgages or mobile phones, since credit reference agencies use the register to validate applications.

More information is available from the Electoral Commission.

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