Registering to vote - individual electoral registration
The way we all register to vote has changed. The new system is called individual electoral registration (IER) (external site).
How do I register under the new system?
Registering takes around 5 minutes and you will need to have your national insurance number to hand. This can be found on:
- your payslip
- national insurance card
- tax return
- P60 or P45 documents or
- letters about benefits or tax credit.
You may also need your passport if you're living abroad.Register now on Gov.uk
How is the new system different?
- Everyone is responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the 'head of every household' could register everyone who lived at their address during the annual canvass period.
- You need to provide a few more details to register - including your national insurance number and date of birth. If you do not know your national insurance number then you can simply call the national insurance registration helpline 0300 200 3502.
I am already on the electoral register, will I need to do anything?
- Most people who are already registered to vote will be registered automatically under the new system and will not need to do anything. However, some people will need to take action to join the new register. We wrote to people in July 2014 to tell them whether they need to take action.
- Respond to the letter if you were asked to. The letter will tell you whether you are on the new register or whether you need to take action. Find out more about individual electoral registration (external site).
What happens next?
When we receive your application we will process it and send you a letter of acknowledgement. There is a five day objection period where an elector can object to your name being added to the electoral register. If this happens we will inform you. Provided that there is no objection, your name will be added to the register from the next effective date and you will be able to vote.
I have received a letter stating that I have 'automatically re-registered', what does this mean?
Every elector whose details matched other records was sent a letter in July advising that their identity has been confirmed. You do not need to do anything about your registration unless your circumstances change, such as if you move home or change your name.
If you wish to opt out of the open register, you must place your request in writing to: Town Hall, Mare Street, London E8 1EA, or email: email@example.com. You can also visit the Town Hall to complete an opt out form.
I have received letter asking me to re-register, what does this mean and what do I need to do?
If your identity has not been matched against other records, you will have been sent an invitation at the end of August to make a fresh application to register. Please complete and return the individual application form or register on GOV.uk (external site).
If you do not respond you will be sent a reminder, and we will also send a canvasser to encourage you to register. Failure to respond to these invitations is likely to affect your ability to vote at the parliamentary general election in May 2015.
My partner/housemate has automatically re-registered but I need to complete a form to re-register, why?
There will be some households with a mix of confirmed and unconfirmed electors due to he nature of the records being used to verify people's identity. Every unconfirmed elector still needs to make a fresh application.
There are two versions of the electoral register - the full register and the open register.
The full register
The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. You can view it at any of the following venues. No appointment is required.
Dalston CLR James Library and Hackney Archives
Viewing times: Tuesday-Thursday, 9.30am-5.30pm, Fri 9.30am-1pm, Sat 10am-5pm. Closed Monday and Sunday.
Hackney Town Hall
Viewing times: Monday-Friday, between 9am-5pm.
Only certain people and organisations can have copies of the full register and they can only use it for specified purposes. These include electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime and checking your identity when you have applied for credit.
The law says who can have a copy of the full register and what they can use it for. The full list of such persons and purposes is given in the Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002. It is a criminal offence for them to pass it on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose.
The open register
The open register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have asked for them to be excluded from the version of the register. It can be bought by anyone who asks for a copy and they may use it for any purpose.
You can view it at any library in Hackney.
Please note that you will be supervised while viewing and only handwritten notes can be taken.
Page updated: 26 Oct 2014