You need to register in order to be able to vote in elections and referendums. If you aren't registered to vote, you won't have the chance to have a say on who represents you.
Some people also register to vote because they want to apply for credit. This is because credit reference agencies use the electoral register to confirm where someone lives when they apply for credit in order to counteract fraud.
The way you register to vote has changed. The new system means:
- You can now register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
- Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the 'head of every household' could register everyone who lived at their address.
- You need to provide a few more details to register - including your National Insurance Number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.
To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must either have leave to remain in the UK or not require such leave. The definition of "Commonwealth citizen" includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.
Citizens of other EU member states (excluding the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) can vote at local government elections. They cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections and must complete a separate form to vote in European Parliamentary elections.
You can register if you are 16 years old or over. However, you cannot vote until you are 18.
Registering to vote is straightforward.
- Go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
- 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.
- Look out for a confirmation letter from the Electoral Registration Officer to say you're registered.
If you are unable to register online, call Electoral Services to request a registration form.
You can register at any time throughout the year as the electoral register is updated almost every month. At the beginning of October every year electoral registration forms are sent to every house in Bath & North East Somerset; this process is known as the annual canvass. A revised register of electors is published at the end of the annual canvass. The current register was published on 17 February 2014.
After the publication date, the register is updated on a monthly basis. You can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or you can phone Electoral Services to request a registration form.
Who has my personal details?
Registers are managed by the Electoral Registration Officer. Using information received from the public, the Electoral Registration Officer keeps 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. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service and 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. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
You can ask for them to be removed by contacting Electoral Services.
A copy of the electoral register, which lists the names and address of everyone entitled to vote, is available for public inspection under supervision in the Bath Record Office, at the Guildhall in Bath.
A copy of the open register is available in public libraries.
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