Guidance for Candidates and Agents at UK Parliamentary general elections in Great Britain

Using the electoral register and lists of absent voters

Once you officially become a candidate you are entitled to receive a free copy of the electoral register.1  You are also entitled to the lists of people voting by post or proxy (‘the lists of absent voters’) for the constituency that you are contesting.

Registered political parties are entitled to receive a copy of the electoral register at any time.

There are two registers

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers:

The electoral 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 (also known as the edited register)

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. Electors can request not to have their name and address included in the open register. 

Last updated: 4 December 2023