12 May 2020
This privacy notice is to be read in conjunction with the full London Borough of Merton privacy notice.
This privacy notice sets out how the Electoral Services Department for the London Borough of Merton will use and process your information.
The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO) are data controllers who collect and use information about residents, candidates, election agents and election and electoral registration staff to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are statutorily responsible.
What type of information is collected about you?
We keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates and their agents, staff employed at an election and the people we need to pay. These may be written down or kept on a computer.
These records may include:
- Basic details about you – for example, your name, address, date of birth and nationality
- Unique identifiers (such as your NI number)
- Scanned application forms and dates of any letters of correspondence
- Copies or details of proof of identity and eligibility
- Notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
- Your previous or any redirected address
- The other occupants in your home
- If you are over 76 or under 18
- Whether you have chosen to opt out of the Open version of the Register of Electors
- Your signature
- Contact details including telephone numbers and email addresses
In addition, if you work for the Returning Officer on election duties or for the Electoral Registration Officer for registration duties these may also include:
- Tax status
- Next of kin / emergency contact details
- Details of previous employment
If you are a candidate at an election, an appointed agent at an election or a campaigner we may also hold these details:
- Political party affiliation
- Campaign group affiliation
We need your information for the following services and functions
Your information will be used for the functions of the Electoral Services Department. The functions of the department are undertaken on behalf of the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)/Returning Officer (RO) who is a data controller and collects your personal data from you for the purpose of:
- Registering your right to vote
- Processing any absent (postal or proxy) voting requests
- Producing and maintaining an accurate register of electors
- Delivering elections and referendums
Who your information will be shared with
To verify your identity, the data you provide on any application form to register to vote will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IER-DS) managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.
The Electoral Registration Officer publishes two versions of the 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
- checking credit applications
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.
If you are concerned that having your name or address on the electoral register may affect your safety, there could be other options available to you, such as anonymous registration. In certain limited circumstances, you can register without your name and address showing on the register.
The electoral register is published once a year (usually each December) and is updated on the first working day of each month between January and September. The law restricts who can be supplied with the electoral register, extracts of the electoral register and absent voter records.
Anyone can inspect the electoral register because it is a public document. Inspection can be made of hard copies held by Electoral Services. Information is listed in address order for each polling district.
- Inspection of the register is conducted under supervision
- Hand written notes may be made during inspection, but no copies or photographs of the register are allowed
- Any information recorded must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open register
- Anyone who fails to observe these conditions may be charged a penalty of up to £5,000.
We also have to share your information with our software providers and contracted printers for the purpose of carrying out our duties of electoral registration and delivering elections and referendums.
Staffing data may be shared with other Returning Officers and Electoral Registration Officers as appropriate. All staff details will also be shared with the payroll department and HMRC in order to make payments.
Details of candidates, election agents, subscribers to nomination papers and other political campaigners may be published where the law requires.
In this current pandemic we may share your information with other public authorities, emergency services, and other stakeholders as necessary and where it is proportionate to do so. Please see Coronavirus Privacy Notice for more details.
The legal basis for processing your data
The collection and retention of data from individuals and inspection of other council records is governed by legislation (including):
- Representation of the People Act 1983
- Representation of the People Regulations 2001
- The Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an Electoral Registration Officer when requested. This is for the compilation and maintenance of an accurate electoral register. Records are kept for:
- potential electors who need to register to vote
- non-eligible citizens so we can stop inviting them to register
- electors who have registered to vote
Returning Officers have statutory duties to collect and retain information from:
- candidates and their agents
- staff employed at an election
This information may be kept in either digital format (i.e. data within a software system or as scanned copies of documents) or hard copy printed format or both.
How long we will keep your information
The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you to find out what information is held about you, on paper and computer records. This is known as a ‘subject access request’ and applies to your Electoral Services records along with all other personal records. If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact us. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month. In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
You have the right to request the erasure of your personal data (‘right to be forgotten’). You have the right to request that we stop, or restrict the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances. Where possible we will seek to comply with your request, but we may be required to hold or process information to comply with a legal requirement.
The Data Protection Act 2018 also allows you other rights; for example if there is an error in your records you have the right to make sure it is rectified or erased. You have the right to opt out of the Open Version of the Register, at any time, and we must remove you from this version and tell the statutory recipients in the next update. You have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will self-report breaches to the Information Commissioner.
If you are dissatisfied with how the Electoral Registration Officer/Returning Officer has used your personal information you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at
If you would like to contact the data protection officer please use the details below:
Data Protection Officer
London Borough of Merton