We collect copies of the full electoral register and updates to the register from Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) who are the primary controller of the Electoral Register in each Local Authority except Northern Ireland where the Electoral Office of Northern Ireland (EONI) performs that function for Northern Ireland. We also collect copies of extracts of Electoral Registers used in polling stations after elections which we refer to as marked register copies.
To ensure safe transmission of this data between EROs and the Electoral Commission, we recommend the use of our secure cloud-based file transfer platform. This platform is secured with two factor authentication and its data is stored in UK based data centres.
Once the registers arrive at the Electoral Commission, we load them into a secure electronic filing system which is only accessible by staff whose responsibilities include the functions set out below.
Legal basis for processing data
Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) have a legal obligation to share the full electoral registers collected for Local Government Elections, UK Parliamentary Elections, and elections to the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments (referred to as the registers) with a number of organisations including the Electoral Commission. The supply of electoral registers to the Electoral Commission is to allow for the exercise of its statutory functions under the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA).
We have two legal bases for processing electoral register data. For the full registers we process this information as part of our public task or in the exercise of our official authority under our statutory functions in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). We collect and store the Register of Electors to perform our legal functions under PPERA, including by checking whether donations accepted, and transactions entered into by, registered political parties are permissible under the law and considering enforcement action under PPERA if they are not.
For the copies of marked registers and copies of the full registers our legal basis for processing is as part of our public task under PPERA to undertake historical and statistical research in the public interest specifically to report, review and provide advice and assistance on elections and electoral matters such as voter registration processes and attitudes to registering to vote. Longitudinal research requires a longer retention period. Reports are published into the public domain via the Commission website and deposited with the appropriate legal deposit libraries.
We retain copies of the full registers for five years which aligns with a typical full election cycle for each relevant election under PPERA this allows a reasonable time frame to check reports after the polls for compliance purposes and to allow for any actions under our enforcement role. Limited extracts may be retained in enforcement case materials for the retention period of the case.
We retain copies of the marked registers from 2014 onwards for research purposes only.
The Electoral Commission does not routinely share electoral register data with other organisations. Electoral register data could be shared if requested by law enforcement agencies or UK Police Services. Each request from relevant authorities is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The Commission may transfer this data as part of an evidential disclosure to the Crown Prosecution Service (or devolved nations equivalent) as part of preparing for criminal action, or as part of information required for judicial proceedings, or legal proceedings.
The Electoral Commission will share Electoral Register data with partner research academics and organisations under contract, such as IPSOS Mori for the Survey of the Electoral Register and the British Election Survey, to support the understanding of and research into Electoral Registration.
We will not be able to grant rights of erasure, rectification, or objection to data from the registers as we are not the primary data controller for Electoral Registers. You must ask the relevant Electoral Registration Officer or the EONI in Northern Ireland any questions about accuracy. We cannot meet any request to stop processing the data held in the registers if it concerns our statutory duty relating to permissibility checking or in data held for research purposes as a point in time record of the Register. Data subjects retain the right to complain to the UK Supervisory Authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The Electoral Commission London office address: 3 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8YZ
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for the purposes of this notification.
The Data Protection officer is Andrew Simpson, Head of Digital, Data, Technology and Facilities.