Elections - electoral register

The electoral register is a record of everyone who lives within the boundaries of the local authority and who is eligible to vote at elections.  

In summer 2014 the way in which you register to vote is changing. This is a short explanation of what is happening.

New registration arrangements and verification of applicants' identities
From 10 June 2014, all new registration applications can only be done individually.

When registering to vote, you will be asked to give your:
• name
• address and previous address
• nationality
• date of birth
• national insurance number.

Your details will be checked against other records to verify your identity before the registration office can approve your application. The introduction of individual registration is to help address concerns about potential fraud, and your identity will need to be verified before you can be registered.

If your name, date of birth and national insurance number are not verified after you have applied to be registered Watford Borough Council electoral registration office will contact you:
• either to clarify any element of your application
• or to ask you to provide documentary evidence, such as a passport, to support your application.

Quicker and easier registration
Electoral registration can now be done online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote  

You are still able to complete a paper application, if you prefer, which Watford Borough Council electoral registration office will send on your request, but it does help to keep costs down if you can apply online.

Initial identity checking for all current electors
If you are currently registered to vote, your name and address will also be checked against other records in order to verify your identity at the start of transition to individual registration. This will take place in late June and early July 2014, and will use secure and tested data matching processes. Your identity will be “confirmed” once these checks have taken place.

Confirmed electors
If your details have been matched against other records you will be sent a letter in Summer 2014 advising that:
• your identity has been confirmed
• and that you do not need to do anything about their registration unless your circumstances change, such as moving home or changing your name.

Unconfirmed electors
If your identity cannot be matched against other records, you will be sent an invitation in Summer 2014 to make a fresh application to register as an elector.
• You will be given an individual application form, and asked either to complete and return the form or to register online.
• If you do not respond you will be sent a reminder, and we will also send a canvasser to encourage you to register, in order to help to minimise costs please respond without delay to any request of information.
• Failure to respond to these invitations will likely affect your ability to vote at the parliamentary general and borough council elections in May 2015.

There will be some households with a mix of confirmed and unconfirmed electors. This is expected because of the nature of the other records being used to verify people's identity. Each unconfirmed elector still needs to make a fresh application, even if somebody else at their address doesn't.

The electoral register and the open register
Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited 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. You can contact your district or borough council at any time to ask them to remove your details from the open register. You will need to specify your name and address and that you want your details excluded from it. Exclusion from the open register will not affect your voting rights or credit status.

Further information or questions
If you have any queries about the changes you can either access more information from the Electoral Commission’s About My Vote website, or you can email the local electoral registration service at elections@watford.gov.uk

Changes to electoral registration

For more information

elections@watford.gov.uk

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