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Registering to vote

Don't forget to vote

Before you can vote in UK elections or referendums you need to register to vote. If you move house or change your name you need to register with your new details.

From 10 June 2014, the way you register to vote has changed.

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How to register

Join the register or update your details

Follow the link below to join the electoral register or to update your details:

Register to vote (GOV.UK website)

Change to individual registration from June 2014

From 10 June 2014, the way you register to vote has changed. Instead of one person completing one form for your whole household, each person now registers individually. This is called “individual electoral registration” (IER).

If you registered before June 2014

Most people who registered before June 2014 will not need to do anything, and will be transferred to the new “IER register” automatically.

You should have received a letter in August 2014 to say either that we’ve transferred you to the new IER register, or that you need to provide extra information before we can transfer you to the new register.

If you need to provide extra information the letter will tell you what to do. We need this information so we can verify that you are eligible to vote. We will provide you with help if you need it.

If we ask you for extra information but you do not provide it, you will lose the ability to vote by post or proxy. You will, however, remain on the register of electors until December 2015, unless we receive information that you are no longer living at the address

If you have not registered individually and had your identity verified by December 2015, you will be removed from the register.

Forms delivered every year

From 2015 all households will be sent a “household enquiry form” every year, and must list everyone over the age of 16 who lives there. Anyone who is not already registered at that address will then be sent an invitation to register to vote.

Deadline to register

You can register up to 12 working days before an election. The final deadline to register in time for the Parliamentary election on 7 May 2015 is Tuesday 21 April 2015.

Who can register

You can register at 16 years old, but you must be 18 or over to vote. To register to vote you must be British, or an EU or Commonwealth citizen living in the UK. See the list of eligible nationalities (18kB).

Which address to register at

You need to register at the address where you live. If you spend roughly the same time at two addresses - for example, you may be a student or working away from your normal home - you can register at both addresses. But you can only vote once at the same election.

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Moving home

If you have moved house, please join the register at your new address. When you are added to the register at your new address you will be automatically be removed from the register at your old address.

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The two versions of the register

We have to keep an open version of the register of electors as well as the full version of the register. The form you fill in to join the register asks if you do not want to appear on the open register.

The full register lists the name and address of everyone who is registered to vote. Anyone can look at it at our office, but there are legal restrictions on how it can be used. Only certain people and organisations can have copies of the full register, and they can only use it for specified purposes. The law says who can have a copy and what they can use it for. It is a criminal offence for them to pass it on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose.

The main use of the full register is to show who can vote at elections and referendums. It can also be used for law enforcement. Merton Council can use the full register for its statutory functions relating to security, law enforcement and crime prevention. There is more information on this at the Fair data processing notice page.

Credit reference agencies can use the full register but only to check your name and address if you are applying for credit, and for other purposes specified in law. You can ask us if you want more details. There is more information in the frequently asked questions page at the About My Vote website.

The open register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have told us they do not want to be on the open register. It can be bought by, or passed on to, any person, company or organisation and it can be used for any purpose. This includes commercial activities such as marketing.

Removing your name from the register

You can choose not to appear in the open register. Data protection law allows anyone to give notice that they do not want their personal information used for direct marketing. If you give us that notice, we will record your register entry as left off the open register permanently. Any request for this must be in writing. You can download this Data Protection Act section 11 form (16kB). It can be used to give notice by up to four people at one address.

You can register anonymously if you can show that your safety would be at risk if your name or address were listed on the electoral register. Please contact us directly for more information.

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Online register searches

It is possible to search electoral registers using online commercial organisations. However, these organisations are only entitled to be supplied with information on the open register.

You may find that your name appears on an online search despite you telling us that you do not want your name on the open register. This can happen if your details were passed on to the commercial organisation before you told us that you did not want to be on the open register. It may be that you have been living at your address since before 2002; when there was only one version of the register.

You should contact the commercial organisation if you want your name removed from their online search because your name is not on the up-to-date open register.

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Historical electoral registers

Some historical electoral registers and parish registers are available to view at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre.

See also: Family History.

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See also

Contact us

Electoral Services
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

If visiting, please go to Merton Link main reception. Office hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Telephone: 020 8545 3407. During election periods this is usually staffed outside of normal visiting times.
Fax: 020 8545 3249

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This page was last updated on Monday 13 October 2014