If you’re listed on the electoral register, you’re entitled to vote in elections. But that’s not the only advantage – being listed improves your credit rating too, because lenders use the register to help confirm your name and address quickly.
Although voting is not compulsory, being on the register is. Copies of the register are held at council offices and some libraries. You can register online at www.gov.uk.
There are two versions of the register: the open register is available to anyone who wants to buy it, and can be used by marketing companies, for example; the full version is used only for election work and other specific purposes but credit reference agencies can buy it. Your name is automatically included in the open register unless you decide to opt out (which will not affect your entitlement to vote).
Changes to the information are made every month, so when you move house just amend your details.
If students are studying in a constituency different from their home address, they can register in both places – they will then be entitled to vote twice in local elections (but only once in a general election).
Recent changes in the way information is collected for the register mean that it is now up to each individual to make sure they are registered and that the information is correct.
Electoral Register History
Previously, a form was delivered to each household for the head of the household to complete and return.
Historic versions of the electoral register are useful when researching local or family history.