Electoral Registration FAQ
- Who can use and view the register?
- What is a marked register and who can inspect it?
- What about old copies of the register?
- What happens if I am moving house?
- What do I do if the property is empty?
- I have a temporary home and I want to become registered
- What if I don't register?
- When is the register published?
- What about council tax?
- What is the electoral register used for?
- Can I buy a copy of the electoral register and what would it cost?
Who can use and view the register?
There are two forms of the register. The "full" register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. The council holds a copy and anyone can look at it (in hardcopy format only) but it is a criminal offence to supply or use copies for purposes other than those set down in law. Copies of entries in the register can be made but only using handwritten notes. The use of laptop computers to type in information, recording equipment, scanners etc are not allowed.
The "full" register can only be inspected (free of charge) under supervision and copies can only be supplied to certain specified people or agencies and only for certain purposes such as elections, the compilation of statistics, law enforcement and credit reference checking.
The second form of the register is called to edited register and this can be purchased by anyone and there are no restrictions on its use. To "not" be on the "edited" register people need to “opt out” of it, otherwise they are automatically on it.
The application forms for registration or the annual canvass forms (where council renews the register) have a space for people to opt out of the "edited" register, if they wish to.
The edited register is only published once a year (normally 1 December) so any opt outs that is asked for after that cannot be implemented until the next publication.
What is a marked register and who can inspect it?
The marked register is a copy of the register used in polling stations which is marked when electors vote. The marked absent voter list is the equivalent document for those who have voted by post.
Any person may inspect a marked register and marked absent voter list (both free of charge), including those entitled to purchase a copy.
However, the request must be in writing using the form below:
What about old copies of the register?
While the elections office keeps old copies of the register (for the checking of overseas voter applications), only the current register is available for public inspection.
Council’s local history service does have copies of old registers and they may supply copies of these that are ten years plus old, for research purposes under certain circumstances. The register may only be supplied in the format the library holds it in and it may only be supplied for research purposes, which are defined as:
Statistical or historical purposes which meet the relevant conditions, in relation to any processing of personal data, being:
- That the data are not processed to support measures or decisions with respect to particular individuals, and
- That the data are not processed in such a way that substantial damage or substantial distress is, or likely to be, caused to any data subject.
What happens if I am moving house?
Give the Electoral Registration Office a ring. See details below.
What do I do if the property is empty?
Give the Electoral Registration Office a ring. See 'Contact us' below.
I have a temporary home and I want to become registered
If you are homeless, or in prison on remand, or a patient in a mental institute, you can also register. Contact the Electoral Registration Office (see details below) and let the staff know of your circumstances and we will send you a 'Declaration of Local Connection' form.
What if I don't register?
Council sends a form to every property ('household') in the borough, normally in August / September each year. There is a legal obligation to register all those in the household who are eligible to put their names on the Electoral Register.
Any person whose name is not shown in the Register, will lose their right to vote at any elections held in this country whilst the Register is in force. In addition, the Electoral Register is used by credit grantors to confirm your address. If your name is not on the Electoral Register, it may affect any credit applications which you may make.
When is the register published?
The electoral register is normally published on 1st December each year. Persons applying for registration under the 'Rolling Registration' process will be shown on the 'Notice of Alteration to the Register' on the 1st of the month following approval of their application.
What about council tax?
The Council Tax Register and the Electoral Register are completely different. They are two separate Registers that contain different information and are used for different purposes.
The Council Tax Register may show the names of the owners and not necessarily the residents of the properties. For these and other legal reasons the Electoral Registration Officer is not permitted to take names from the Council Tax Register and put them on the Electoral Register. Similarly, details on the Electoral Register cannot be put on the Council Tax Register.
What is the electoral register used for?
- Finding out who is entitled to vote
- Finding out who is entitled to become a candidate in an election
- Finding out who is entitled to nominate a candidate for an election
- Calculating the maximum amount a candidate can lawfully spend in relation to an election
- For electoral purposes, by political parties and candidates
- Identifying people who qualify for jury service
- To help establish a person's credit status, by credit reference agencies
- For law enforcement purposes
Can I buy a copy of the electoral register and what would it cost?
There are restrictions on who can buy copies of an Electoral Register and on how the information can be used. Contact the Electoral Registration Office for details and prices.
- Registers are only dispatched on receipt of payment. This means that cheques have to be cleared first.
- Cash and cheques are acceptable methods of payment. If you are paying by cheque please make cheques payable to Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council.
The Electoral Registration Office
Telephone 01922 652030
Fax 01922 652040