We have all added our names to the Electoral Roll and know that you must be registered to be able to vote in elections; however there is more to it than that…
Who can register to Vote? A UK citizen; a qualifying Commonwealth citizen; a citizen of the Irish Republic; a citizen of the EU (however EU citizens from countries other than Ireland, Malta and Cyprus are not entitled to vote in UK parliamentary elections but can vote in European parliamentary, local council and mayoral and London Assembly elections). You must be 16 to be included on the Electoral Roll.
What happens if you don’t register? If you are eligible to vote you must register if asked to. If you do not register you will be fined £80.
Can you register in more than one place? It is sometimes possible to register at 2 addresses although you can only vote once in any election. To be registered at two different addresses you must complete the registration form for both addresses and the Electoral Registration Office will look at each application and decide whether it is appropriate for the person to be registered at both addresses – an example of when it would be allowed is for a student with a term-time address as well as a home address.
The way to register has recently changed – until recently only one person in each household was required to register everyone in that household however it is now a requirement that each individual must register independently
There are two versions of the Voters Roll in existence – the Electoral Register and the Open Register. Both registers are compiled using information from the public but the availability of the information and the ability to access the information is different:
Electoral Register – lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote and is used for electoral purposes and other limited purposes as specified in law e.g. detecting crime, calling people for jury service and checking credit applications
Open Register – This is extracted from the Electoral Register and can be purchased by any person, company or organisation.
Everyone’s details are included on the Electoral Register and will be included on the Open Register unless the person contacts his/ her local Electoral Registration Office and requests to be removed from the Open Register.
Being included on the Electoral Roll is essential in order to be able to vote in elections; however it is also important for the following reasons: