Individual electoral registration (IER)

All voters now need to register individually, rather than as a household. This change was introduced in 2014.

We've put together some frequently asked questions below to help you understand individual electoral registration (IER):

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What is individual electoral registration?

Previously the ‘head of household’ was responsible for registering everyone who lived at the address, but now every individual is responsible for their own voter registration. This is called Individual Electoral Registration. The new system also means that people can register online. Anyone newly registering under the new system will need to register themselves individually by filling out a paper or online form.

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Am I currently registered to vote?

Most people will have been registered to vote automatically under the new system. We sent a letter in August 2014 to let these people know that they are registered under the new system.

A minority of people on the electoral register were not automatically registered under the new system and we wrote to these people to let them know that they needed to register under the new system. We included a registration form with the letter or they can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you are not sure if you have previously registered to vote, please contact our elections team on 01543 308125.

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What if I've moved house since I last registered or am moving house?

If you have recently moved house or are moving in the future, you should register again at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

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Why has the system changed?

Individual electoral registration gives you the right and responsibility to register yourself, instead of giving the responsibility to a ‘head of household’. It encourages people to take individual responsibility for their own vote. The change has also allowed more convenient methods of registration, for example, by internet. Because the new system asks you for a few more details before you are added to the register – your National Insurance number and date of birth – the electoral register will be more secure and more resistant to threats of electoral fraud.  

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Who is responsible for changing the system?

The system was introduced by the UK Government through the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 which became law on 31 January 2013. Electoral Registration Officers are implementing the change.

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Does the change affect how I vote?

No, voting processes haven’t changed. However, if you want to vote by post or proxy you will need to ensure that you are registered under the new system. If you haven’t already applied to vote by post, you will need to do so by 5pm 11 working days before an election to vote by post at that election.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is normally six working days before an election, apart from in the case of a medical emergency or if you are called away unexpectedly for work reasons, when you may be able to apply up to 5pm on polling day.

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I haven’t received the letter about this, what should I do?

If you are already registered to vote and haven’t had a letter about your registration, please contact our elections team on 01543 308125. If you were not already on the electoral register you will not be sent a letter and should register to vote at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

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Why haven’t I been automatically registered?

Most people who were registered to vote have been registered automatically under the new system. For all sorts of reasons, some people have not been matched against government records and therefore cannot be transferred automatically to the new register. For example, they may have moved home or changed their personal details since the record was last updated.

If you receive a letter telling you your details have not been matched, please re-register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

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Can I still vote if I don’t re-register?

If you have not been automatically transferred to the new register, a special process has been put in place so that you will still be able to vote in elections until December 2015, even if you don’t re-register. The only exception to this is if you plan to vote via post or proxy. If you do, you will need to register under the new system or you will only be able to vote in person at a polling station. Eventually, all those who were not automatically transferred will need to re-register. It’s really important that you re-register as soon as possible as you will eventually lose your vote. You can register by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

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My details have changed

If your name has changed you can complete a change of name form with your previous and new name and the date of the change. You will need to provide evidence to support the change of name, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll certificate (although there is a process if you can’t provide this).

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Can I still vote by post / proxy?

You will need to be registered under the new system to retain your postal / proxy vote. If you are not registered under the new system, you will not be able to vote by post / proxy in the next elections. You can return the paper form included with your letter or you can register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

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Can a family member register me?

No, everybody needs to register themselves. If you are unable to register yourself, it’s ok to get help filling in the details but you must make the declaration yourself.

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Will I still get an annual canvass form?

Instead of your old annual canvass form, you will receive a new type of form called a ‘household enquiry form’. You should use this form to confirm who lives in your home. If new adults aged 16 or over have moved in you should add them to the form, and if they have not registered we will send them an invitation to register.

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Do I need to re-register each year?

You don’t need to register again unless you change address. You should however return the form that you will receive every year that confirms who is living in your household. You should also inform us if any of your details (such as your name) change.

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What happens if I don't register?

If we have invited you to register to vote it is important that you respond. If you don’t, we will send you reminders through the post and someone will visit your home. At the end of this process we may send you a requirement to register. If you fail to do so without providing adequate reason why you have not, you may be fined £80. Not being registered can also impact on applications for mortgages or mobile phones, since credit reference agencies use the register to validate applications.

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I have no fixed address, can I register?

If you have no fixed address you can still register to vote. You need to make something called a ‘declaration of local connection’ to show that you are connected to and spend time at a particular place. You can normally do this only for one place.

If you want to register through a declaration of local connection you will need to do so under the new registration system. This means you will need to provide your date of birth and National Insurance number. If you are already registered through a declaration of local connection, you can renew under the old system if you are due to do so until 9 September 2014. After that you will need to register under the new system.

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I'm registering for the first time

Extra information needs to be provided when registering for the first time or re-registering. This includes providing your National Insurance number and your date of birth.

How do I find my National Insurance number? A National Insurance number is a reference number used by government. The easiest place to find your National Insurance number is on official paperwork, such as your National Insurance card, payslips or letters from the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). If you still can’t find it, you can use the HMRC enquiry service at www.gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number.

Please be aware HMRC won't tell you your National Insurance number over the phone, they'll post it to you.

I don’t know my date of birth If you do not know your actual date of birth, you may have been given an official one in the past and this can be used to register to vote. This can be found on paperwork, including a passport, adoption certificate, driving licence or naturalisation certificate.

If you do not have one, you will need to explain why you are unable to provide it in your registration application. We may contact you to ask you for proof of identity.


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