Merton Council

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Ballot boxRegistering to vote

You can only vote if you are on a register of electors. You are not automatically registered even if you pay council tax.

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How to register

Forms delivered every year

We normally deliver a form to all homes in the borough at the end of August every year. This is part of what we call the "annual canvass". You have to return this form so we can update our register of electors. You are breaking the law if you do not return it and may have to pay a fine. The later annual canvass in 2013 means that we publish the new register on 17 February 2014. This is part of the planning for the move to individual electoral registration across the whole of the United Kingdom. You will be told about this later in the year.

Registering at other times of the year

If you move house after the annual canvass, or if you are not registered for another reason, you can apply to be added through regular alterations. When we make the alterations we also delete names and make any other changes needed.

You can download and print our Voter registration form (59kB). The notes on the second page of this form will help you fill it in. They also show the deadlines for each regular alterations. (You only need to print the first page to send to us.)

Deadline to register

You can register up to 12 working days before an election. This means that there are different deadlines before elections. The final deadline to register in time for the European Parliament and Merton Council elections on 22 May 2014 is Tuesday 6 May 2014.

Deregistering

When you apply to register at a new address, you need to give your old address. The registration officer for your new address will tell the registration officer for your old address to delete your name. If you prefer, you can also let us know directly if you have moved from your Merton address and need to be taken off the register. This must be in writing and give your new address. Contact us

Who can register

You need to register at the address where you live. You can register if you are 17 years old or over, but in order to vote you must be 18 or over and a British, other Commonwealth, Irish or other European Union citizen. This is the list of eligible nationalities (18kB).

If you are a European Union citizen who is not British or Irish you are not entitled to vote at United Kingdom parliamentary elections. You can vote at local elections and can choose to vote at a European parliamentary election either for your Merton address or for your own member state's area.

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.

Living away from your registered address

Please contact us about registering to vote if you are in one of these categories, or download the information available:

  • You are homeless, a remand prisoner, or a patient in a mental hospital.
  • You live or work overseas. Download an Overseas Elector's Form (0.2MB).
  • You are in the armed forces (or your husband, wife or civil partner is in the armed forces). Download Service Voter's Information and Forms (0.8MB).
  • You are a Crown Servant or British Council employee working overseas (or your husband, wife or civil partner is one). Download a Crown Servant's Form (67kB).

Anonymous registration

People can register anonymously if they can show that their safety would be at risk if their name or address was listed on the electoral register.

Anonymous Registration Form (0.2MB) - includes details on how to vote

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The two versions of the register

150,000 people are registered to vote in Merton at 83,000 addresses.

We have to keep an edited 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 edited 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 edited register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have told us they do not want to be on the edited 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.

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 edited register on a permanent basis. 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.

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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 edited 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 edited 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 edited 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 edited 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
Morden
SM4 5DX

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
Email: electoral.services@merton.gov.uk

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This page was last updated on Tuesday 21 January 2014