Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Providing information on accessing the electoral register

Candidates are entitled on written request to the ERO to a free copy of the full register for the electoral area in which they are standing1 .
While the legal responsibility for receiving and supplying registers to candidates rests with the ERO for each local authority area, if you are the (A)RO of a constituency which crosses local authority boundaries, you should have in place plans for managing or coordinating requests and supplying copies of the registers to candidates. These plans should ensure that all candidates can be supplied with registers in such a way that they have timely and easy access to them. 

For example, you may consider supplying the registers to UK Parliamentary candidates centrally on behalf of all the EROs, and include a request form in the nomination pack that covers all local authority areas that are part of the constituency. The benefit of this approach is that it could operate so that candidates or election agents only need to complete one request form covering all local authority areas and receive their registers from a single place, instead of having to approach each ERO separately with individual requests. 

You would need to also consider the practicalities of collating the registers and, in particular, the updates to the register. You would need to discuss and agree with the EROs how the various registers and updates to them could be brought together for subsequent timely supply, including how this would work for both printed and data copies. The registers must be supplied in data form unless a printed copy has been specifically requested.

We have produced template electoral register and absent voter list request forms that candidates can use. 


Further information about candidate’s entitlement to the register and absent votes list can be found in our guidance for candidates and agents.

Last updated: 8 February 2024