The Electoral Register and the Open Register
There are two registers. Why?
Using information received from the public, 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 public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote – and for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:
- detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
- calling people for jury service
- checking credit applications
- political parties and candidates to aid their election campaigns.
The Open Register
The Open Register contains the names and addresses of those residents who have not chosen to opt out, either when registering to vote or when completing a household enquiry form. It is an extract of the Electoral Register, - it isn't used for elections but 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.
Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
If anyone requests a copy of the open register the council is legally obliged to sell them a copy. The council does not make a profit from these sales. Charges are set by central government and do not cover the council’s cost in providing copies.
You can find out more information about both registers and how they are used at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Opt out of The Open Register
To opt-out of the open register simply tick the appropriate box on the form when you register to vote. If you wish to opt out after you have registered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I view the Register?
The Register can be viewed at our offices between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays. Please call the elections team on 01235 422528 to request to view the Register and make an appointment – you will be asked whether you wish to view the open or the full register and we will make an appointment for you.
Viewing of the full register is required by law to be under supervision and so for that purpose we offer 15 minute slots, and we can offer up to four slots per person, per day. You will be asked to complete a register viewing request form on arrival.
Viewing of the open register does not require supervision and appointments can be unlimited in length however we do need advance notification to arrange for the necessary open register to be prepared.
If you call into the offices without an appointment, it may not be convenient for a member of the team to see you.
Regulations in respect of viewing the Register of Electors
In accordance with the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (as amended):
- The Register of Electors is open to public inspection under supervision and contains the names of all those registered to vote in a certain area.
- Information from the Register may be recorded only by making minimal hand written notes. Photocopying or electronic recording are not permitted by law.
- Information taken from the Register must not be used for direct marketing purposes (as per Section 11(3) of the Data Protection Act 1998), unless the information has also been published in the Open version of the Register of Electors
- Under the Regulations referred to above, anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence. The penalty is a fine of up to level 5 (£5000 as of 2010).
Last reviewed: 19 - 11 - 2019