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Register to vote

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You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums.  

You can register to vote online:

  • registering should take about five minutes
  • even if you do not have a National Insurance Number, you can still register online
  • we will write to confirm when you will be added to the register

Register to vote (opens new window)

Voting eligibility

To be eligible to register to vote you need to be:

✔ over 16 years of age (you can only vote when you become 18)

✔ either a British, Irish, EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizen.

✔ for more information, visit the Gov.UK website (opens new window).

Why register to vote?

Not being registered to vote can cause a delay if you apply for a loan, mortgage, finance agreement or even a mobile phone contract.

You will not be automatically registered to vote if you pay council tax.

Once you have registered, you do not need to do so again unless you move house or change your name, see our Make changes to the electoral register page for more information.

How do I check if I'm registered to vote?

Once you have registered to vote on the Gov.UK website, we will add your details (as long as you are eligible to vote) to our next update of the electoral register.

To check if you are registered to vote, contact the Electoral Registration Officer by emailing or calling 01483 444115.

Special categories of registration

There are special registration arrangements for some people:

Overseas voters

If you're a UK citizen living abroad, you can apply to be an overseas voter. 

There's no longer a time limit as to when you were last registered or resident in the UK. A British citizen can register as an overseas elector regardless of when they left the UK. However, they must meet either the previously registered or previously resident criteria below.

Overseas electors can only vote at UK Parliamentary elections and UK-wide referendums.

Previously registered eligibility criteria 

This is for applicants who have previously been registered to vote in the UK. Examples of individuals who may be eligible to register under this condition include:

  • a person who, before they left the UK, was registered to vote in a local or parliamentary register
  • a person who has previously been registered as an overseas elector and whose declaration has expired
  • a person last registered as basis of being a Declaration of Local Connection elector, a Merchant Seaman, an anonymous elector or as a service voter

Previously resident eligibility criteria

This is for residents who have been in the constituency but have never registered to vote.

Examples of individuals who may be eligible to register under the previously resident condition include:

  • a person who was too young to register when they left the UK
  • a person who was too young to register when they left the UK, and their parent or guardian was registered at their qualifying address
  • a person who was of no fixed abode when they left the UK and would have been eligible to make a Declaration of Local Connection (DLC) or who left the UK before 2001 (when DLC provisions were not in force)
  • a person who chose not to register while living in the UK

Length of declaration

If you register as an overseas elector, your declaration is valid for up to three years.

Each declaration will expire on the third 1st November after the date the declaration has been made unless the elector renews their declaration.

We will remind you if you need to make a renewal declaration by sending a notice.

There's no requirement for all existing overseas electors to reapply immediately. Existing declarations will be sent a renewal 2-3 months before their registration expires. When they're next required to renew their declaration, they will move to a 3-year fixed point renewal.

Service voters

You can register as a service voter if you are a member of HM Armed Forces, or the spouse or civil partner of someone in the armed forces. This includes Crown Servants and employees of the British Council posted overseas.

People with no fixed address

You can register to vote even if you do not have a fixed address. For example, you may be a voluntary patient in a mental health hospital, homeless, living on a boat/moveable residence or be remanded in custody (but not convicted). If you do not have a permanent address, you can register at an address where you spend a substantial part of your time, or have some connection to. This could be a previously permanent address, shelter or similar place.

Anonymous voters

If you are concerned about your name and address appearing on the electoral register because you think that it could affect your safety, or the safety of someone in your household, you can register anonymously.

If you register anonymously, your name and address will not appear on the public electoral register, but you will still be able to vote.

To register anonymously, you will need to submit evidence to support your registration, either:

  • a court document that is for your protection or someone in your household
  • a signature on your form from an authorised person confirming that your safety, or the safety of someone in your household, could be at risk if you don't register anonymously.

If you have any questions about registering under any of the above special categories, contact electoral services, or visit the Electoral Commission website (opens new window).

Your personal information

We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes. We will look after personal information securely and follow the Data Protection Act 2018.

We will not give personal information about you and the other people in your household to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.

Please read our Electoral Services privacy statement for more information as to how we handle your personal information.