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How to register to vote 

Individual electoral registration

The way we all register to vote has changed

The new system is called ‘Individual Electoral Registration’.

From 10 June 2014, all new registration applications can only be done individually.

Each applicant will be asked to give their: 

  • name
  • address and previous address
  • nationality
  • date of birth
  • national insurance number.
Each applicant's details will be checked against other records to verify their identity before the registration office can approve their application. This makes the electoral register more secure.

If a person's name, date of birth and national insurance number are not verified after they have applied to be registered, the electoral registration office will contact them: 
  • either to clarify any element of their application
  • or to ask the applicant to provide documentary evidence, such as a passport, to support their application.

How do I register under the new system?

  1. Go to GOV.UK website 
  2. Fill in your name, address, date of birth and a few other details. You’ll also need your national insurance number, which can be found on your national insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips, or letters about benefits or tax credits.

I am already on the electoral register, will I need to do anything?

  1. Look out for a letter in July 2014.
    Most people who are already registered to vote will be registered automatically under the new system following identity check. They do not need to do anything and your letter will confirm this. However, each elector whose identity has not been matched against other records will be sent an invitation to make a fresh application to register as an elector.
  2. If you receive a fresh application to register in July 2014, you can either complete and return the form or register online.
  3. Those who do not respond will be sent a reminder, and we will also send a canvasser to encourage them to register. Failure to respond to these invitations is likely to affect people's ability to vote at the parliamentary general election in May 2015.

There will be some households with a mix of electors who will be registered automatically under the new system and those that needs to make fresh application whose identity has not been confirmed against other records. This is expected because of the nature of the other records being used to verify people's identity.

Each unconfirmed elector still needs to make a fresh application, even if somebody else at their address doesn't.

The two versions of the register

When you register to vote, you will be able to choose whether you want your details included in the open register.

There are two registers.

Electoral registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register
The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in elections.  The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as: 

  • detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
  • calling people for jury service
  • checking credit applications
The open register
The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities 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. Any elector can contact us at electoral.services@lbbd.gov.uk at any time to ask us to remove their details from the open register. You will need to specify your name and address and that you want your details excluded from it.

Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

You can find more information about both registers and how they may be used on the GOV.UK website.

Electoral Services

Civic Centre


RM10 7BN


Phone: 020 8215 3000

Email: electoral.services@lbbd.gov.uk