Running electoral registration - England

Free supply of the full register

Free supply of the full register

Free supply without application

You must automatically send a copy of the revised published full register, and any associated documents, to certain individuals and organisations entitled to be supplied with the register on publication.1  

This also applies when you publish a revised register at any time during the year.

Free supply upon application

Legislation provides for certain persons or organisations, which include a councillor, party or candidate, to request by application that the ERO supply to them a free copy of the relevant parts of the full register, any notice setting out an alteration to the register and a list of overseas electors.2
Any application must be made in writing and must specify:3  

  • the document that is requested
  • whether the request is made for current documents only or whether it includes a request for the supply of any subsequent documents, such as notices of alteration (although the option of receiving subsequent documents does not apply to candidates requesting the documents for electoral purposes, so they will not need to include this);4 and
  • whether a printed copy of any of the documents is requested instead of the version in data form

The relevant part of the full register, including the list of overseas electors if requested, must be supplied on receipt of a valid request.5
There is no limit on the numbers of requests that can be made. This means that the right to request the register could potentially be exercised more than once, with each request being a valid request that the ERO must comply with. For example, a councillor, party or candidate who has already been supplied with the register, may make a further request for the ERO to supply a further copy of the revised register and any subsequent notices of alteration.

Access to the full register by third parties

There is no distinction in law between political parties and third parties when it comes to accessing the full register and the purpose for which the information can be used. A third party, registered by the Commission, is entitled to request a copy of the following;

  • the full register
  • any notice setting out an alteration to the register
  • a list of overseas electors
  • the current absent voters list
  • the final absent voters list for a particular election

This information can only be used for prescribed purposes.6  

If a valid request is made for any of this information it must be supplied unless the ERO has reason to believe that the person requesting the information is not asking for it on behalf of the registered third party. You can find the full list of third parties registered with us on our PEF Online website.

A request for a copy of the full register by a third party must be made in writing to the ERO. It must state whether the request is for the current version of the full register or whether it includes requests for the supply of any subsequent notices of alteration. Where a printed copy is required, the requester must specify this too.7

Where it is not clear from the written request whether the request is for the current version of the register or if it includes any updates, the ERO should contact the requester and ask for clarification. Similarly, if there are any questions about whether the request has actually come from the registered third party (for example, if the third party name used in the request does not exactly match the name that appears on PEF Online), you should not supply the register until you have asked the requester for clarification and are satisfied that they are requesting the register on behalf of the third party. 

There are strict legal restrictions on the use of the register and it can only be used by registered third parties for electoral purposes and the control of donations.8 As with anyone requesting a copy of the register, you should point out to them the restrictions on the use of the information contained in it, as well as the potential penalties for misuse. Any person found breaching the restrictions on the use of the electoral register could face an unlimited fine.9
We have produced a cover sheet for the supply of the electoral register on request which sets out how the register may be used, the penalty for misuse, and that the data should be securely destroyed once the purpose for which it has been supplied has finished.

Last updated: 28 September 2022