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Register to vote
To make sure that no one loses their right to vote, all Councils are legally required to keep a list of everyone in their area who is entitled to vote. We must also ensure that it is kept up to date and accurate. This list is called the Voter Register or Electoral Register.
At present 93 out of every 100 adults in our borough are registered to vote.
The law also states that each individual is responsible to register themselves and must provide proof of their identity – date of birth and national insurance number.
This information will allow registration officers to cross check the information to confirm the person is who they say they are before he/she can be added to the register.
Fill in your name, address, date of birth and other information. 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.
When your information is verified, we will send you a letter to confirm that you will be included on the Register.
No access to the internet?
If you do not have internet access, you can use computers in local libraries and internet cafes, or you can apply to register by telephone, using the Voter Registration Helpline (01642) 526196. Otherwise, we can also send you a paper registration form for you to fill in and send back to us.
Please note – you will still need to provide your date of birth and national insurance number.
Reasons to make sure you are on the Voter (Electoral) Register
1. To be able to vote – You must be on the Voter (Electoral) Register to vote in local and UK elections and referendums.
2. It can affect your credit rating – Credit Reference Agencies and banks use the Voter (Electoral) Register to check your identity when you apply for credit. If you are not on the register you may be refused a bank account, loan, credit card or mortgage.
3. Jury service – The Register is used to select people for jury service.
Who can register to vote?
The following people can register to vote:
- Anyone aged 16 or over can register to vote but you cannot vote until you are 18.
- British or qualifying Commonwealth countries.
- Citizens of other EU member states resident in the UK can vote in local government elections but cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections.
- Those resident in Scotland or Wales may also vote in the Scottish Parliamentary or National Assembly for Wales elections.
Don’t forget that you can register to vote by post or by proxy instead of having to go to vote in person at a Polling Station.
For security reasons, postal and proxy voters must provide a specimen signature when they apply. This has to be renewed every five years. Everyone who is required to submit a fresh signature will receive a new application from the electoral services office which they must complete and return in the pre-paid envelope provided.
As voting by post is quick and easy, it's popular with people who are busy; those who find it difficult to get to their Polling Station; and people who will be away when the election is on.
Who is most likely to be missing from the Voter (Electoral) Register?
Ninety-three per cent of the adult population in our borough are registered to vote. Research shows that the following groups of people are the most likely to be among the remaining seven per cent that are not on the Register:
- Young People aged 16 to 30 years old – you can be added to the Register from the age of 16 but cannot vote until you are 18. The ‘League of Young Voters’ has produced the video below explaining why young people should be registered to vote.
- Students – as a student you can be registered at both your home address and your term-time address.
- Home movers – Only 40% of those who’ve moved house in the last year have registered to vote. Every time you move home you need to re-register at your new address.
- People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities – although once they are on the Register, they are amongst the most likely to vote.
- People living in rented or temporary accommodation – your right to vote exists whether you are in short-term housing or even if you become homeless – so you can still be on the Register.
Please help us to make sure that everyone entitled to vote has the chance to do so – by passing on the information on this page.
Accessible Voting for All
People with a learning disability have the same right to vote as everyone else.
You can find out what voting is and why it’s important in the following Easy Read Guide. It’s important to remember that you must register to vote in order to vote.
You can find answers to lots of frequently asked questions about the process of registering to vote, checking or changing details on Voter (Electoral) Register, and the different ways to vote – Voting in person, Voting by post or Voting by proxy.
Mencap has produced an ‘Easy Read’ guide to voting and registering to vote (87 pages) and a shorter 'Easy Read' version just on registering to vote (7 pages).