Delivering the annual canvass - Scotland

Who can be supplied with the register?

Who can be supplied with the register?

Access to and supply of the full electoral register is limited to those prescribed in legislation.
You have a duty to supply free copies of the register of electors to various organisations and individuals, and legislation imposes restrictions on how this is done. In some cases, registers have to be supplied on publication and in others the register is only supplied on request.

The timing of receipt of the register is particularly important to some recipients. For example, political parties need the electoral register to fulfil their statutory obligations in relation to the checking of donations, in addition to using it for campaigning purposes. It is important that the register is supplied promptly and you should, therefore, supply the register to anyone who is entitled to receive it on publication as soon as possible and in any case, within 5 working days.

You should ensure that every person/organisation that receives the register, whether on publication, by sale, or on request, is aware that:

  • they must only use the register for the permitted purpose(s) specified in the Regulations 
  • once the purpose for which the register has been supplied has expired, they must securely destroy the register
  • they understand the penalty for misuse of the register

You should not provide any advice in response to questions about whether a recipient’s proposed usage of register data is in accordance with the law. It is for the recipient of the register to be satisfied that their use of the register is in accordance with what the law sets out. If they are not certain they should speak to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) or seek their own legal advice.

We have made cover sheets available, which set out how the register may be used and the penalty for misuse, for the sale and supply on request and inspection of the electoral register. 



We have also produced a list of people entitled to be supplied with the electoral register.

There are different provisions that apply in respect of the edited register and the marked register. 

To demonstrate that you are complying with the principles of processing personal data, ensuring that it is processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner you should maintain records of every person and organisation you supply with the register.

We have produced further detailed guidance on access and supply of the electoral register throughout the year.

Last updated: 3 December 2020