Annual voter registration - Frequently asked questions

Q1: What is the Annual Voter Registration form about?
Q2: How do I register?
Q3: My form doesn't have a security number. How can I register?
Q4: I've lost my form/I've spoilt my form. Can I get another one?
Q5: What if I don't send my form back?
Q6: I registered last year/I registered when I moved in. Do I have to register again?
Q7: The form has been sent to the people who used to live here. Do I need to respond?
Q8: I'm moving soon, should I respond?
Q9: Will you tell me when I have been registered?
Q10: Do I have to vote?
Q11: I have two homes. Where should I register to vote?
Q12: What is the full register?
Q13: What is the open register?
Q14: What if I don't want my details sold from the open register?
Q15: If I "opt out" does this stop me getting credit?
Q16: Can I "opt in" if I want to?
Q17: I am a student, where should I register to vote?
Q18: Should foreign national, refugee, asylum seeker respond?


Q1: What is the Annual Voter Registration form about?

Every year the Electoral Registration officer has to prepare a new and accurate voter's list. The only way we can obtain the information is by sending a form to every household which, by law, must be completed. We don't use other council records for electoral registration as not everyone who pays Council Tax is eligible to vote and not all Council Tax payers are resident. Electoral Registration is based on residency at a property.

Q2: How do I register?

Please complete and return your annual voter registration form to us by post, by phone, via the internet or by text. There is more information about the different ways to respond on your registration form and the accompanying leaflet. Please respond as soon as you can.

Q3: My form doesn't have a security number. How can I register?

If your form does not have a security code you won't be able to use the phone, internet or text. You should, therefore, complete it and post it back to us as soon as you can.

Q4: I've lost my form/I've spoilt my form. Can I get another one?

If you have lost or spoilt your form please contact electoral services and we can take your details and arrange for another one to be sent to you.

Q5: What if I don't send my form back?

Everybody must respond - if you do not register, your name can be removed from the register. It is against the law not to register and there is a maximum fine of £1000. We will send you reminders and, if necessary, one of our canvassers will call to obtain the information on your doorstep. This is very expensive so you can help to save the council's money by responding as soon as you can.

Q6: I registered last year/I registered when I moved in. Do I have to register again?

Yes - you have to renew your registration every year during the autumn. For most people the information we have is a year old - we don't know if your situation has changed since then. It is easy for you to register - you can confirm your details by phone, or on the internet or simply sign and return the form by post. Even if you have registered recently, you must still re-register at this time of year.

Q7: The form has been sent to the people who used to live here. Do I need to respond?

Yes. The form is addressed to "The present occupier' which is you. Please cross out the names of anyone who no longer lives at your address and write in the new names of the new occupiers.

Q8: I'm moving soon, should I respond?

Yes. Please return the form with a note stating that you are moving, making a note of your new address and the date you are moving.

 We will then ensure a form is delivered to your new address, if you are moving within the Borough.

Q9: Will you tell me when I have been registered?

We do not acknowledge your form when we receive it. However, you can check the register after it is published on 1 December 2016 by contacting this office.

Q10: Do I have to vote?

No. Although it is compulsory for all eligible people to register, it is your decision as to whether you wish to vote.

Q11: I have two homes. Where should I register to vote?

You should register to vote where you spend the most time. If that property is not within this Borough, please tick the box that states you are registered elsewhere.

Q12: What is the full register?

The full version lists everyone who is entitled to vote. The law says who can have a copy of it and what it can be used for.

This includes electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime, and checking your identity when you apply for credit. It is a criminal offence to pass on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose. The full Register of Electors is held at the Electoral Services Office, where it is available for public inspection under staff supervision.

Q13: What is the open register?

The open register omits the names and addresses of people who have asked to be excluded from it. It can be bought by anyone and used for any purpose. For example, direct mailing companies may use it to send you information about goods and services. The open register is also held at the Electoral Services Office. There is more information on the back of your form.

Q14: What if I don't want my details sold from the open register?

Please tell us by writing 'No' on the form in the column headed 'Include on open register?'

Q15: If I "opt out" does this stop me getting credit?

No. It makes no difference. By law, the credit referencing companies can get the full register of electors to check. Opting out means that other commercial companies, such as mailing firms and estate agents, cannot buy your details.

Q16: Can I "opt in" if I want to?

Yes, you can simply indicate this by writing 'Yes' in the column headed 'Include on open register?'

Q17: I am a student, where should I register to vote?

Students can register for voting at both their home and term-time addresses if they are in different areas. However, by law you will only be able to vote once in an election.

Q18: Should foreign national, refugee, asylum seeker respond?

Yes. Every household must respond, even if nobody at your address is eligible to vote. Simply tick the box confirming you are a foreign national and confirm your nationality in the box next to the tick.