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

Polling station registers and absent voting lists

You must provide each Presiding Officer with the appropriate part of the electoral register for their polling station and the appropriate absent voting lists. 

Polling station staff should be trained on the various franchise markers that will appear on the register.1 They need to be aware of the importance of the security of voters’ personal details on the electoral register and absent voting lists.

Polling station registers can be printed once the final election notice of alteration has been published, five working days before polling day. However you should ensure that all printed polling station registers:

  • are checked to ensure that they are complete
  • reflect any recent additions or deletions to the register
  • have the appropriate franchise markers in place

There is no legislative deadline for determination of absent voting applications. However, if the absent vote is needed for a forthcoming poll you should liaise with the ERO (where you are not already the ERO) to establish the latest practicable point for the determination of absent vote applications and the process for updating polling station registers and absent voting lists and communicating updates to polling station staff so that you can ensure that polling station registers and the absent voting lists are accurate.  

Once the registers have been printed you should instruct your Presiding Officers to check that:

  • they have been provided with the correct register for their polling station
  • the register includes the expected number of electors allocated to their polling station

Alterations to the register 

You should have procedures in place to deal with any necessary amendments made before polling day or on polling day itself. These procedures should cover your method:

  • to amend the polling station registers and absent voting lists after they have been printed, as a result of the determination of absent vote applications, clerical errors, granting emergency proxy applications or late verification of postal voting applications
  • for communicating the relevant information to Presiding Officers, which may be done orally or in writing

More information about clerical errors can be found in our guidance for EROs in England, Scotland and Wales

Cross-boundary constituencies

You should liaise and agree with the other ERO(s) in your constituency a method for communicating to Presiding Officers changes to the register as a result of the determination of absent vote applications, clerical error, court decisions or the granting of an emergency proxy.

Polling station registers and absent voting lists

If a person makes a complaint to polling station staff that suggests that they should be on the electoral register, the Presiding Officer must communicate that representation to the ERO as soon as is practicable. For this to work effectively you will need to ensure that you have suitable communication systems in place between Presiding Officers and the ERO.

For more information on training staff see our guidance on training presiding officers, poll clerks and polling station inspectors

Last updated: 22 February 2024