Running electoral registration - England

The Eligibility Confirmation and Review Process for European Union Citizens

Changes to the franchise of EU citizens were introduced by the Elections Act 2022. In England the general right of European Union citizens to register, vote and stand in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections will be removed.

The Elections Act amends section 2 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 which provides the franchise for local government elections.

This will mean that in order to vote or stand in all local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, an EU citizen will be required to be:

  • a qualifying EU citizen,  or 
  • an EU citizen with retained rights 

This change will not affect the rights of citizens from Ireland, Malta or Cyprus.

The Representation of the People (Franchise Amendment and Eligibility Review) Regulations 2023 provide the detail of the process that you will be required to undertake to review the eligibility of EU citizens on the register. 

This guidance has been produced to support Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) in planning for and delivering this process, which is called the Eligibility Confirmation and Review (ECR) process. 

It reflects the ERO’s legal obligations to conduct the ECR process; what they should consider when planning and delivering the review; how the review processes, including both the data based and correspondence review, must be delivered; the possible outcomes of the review processes; and the requirement to provide data to us for the purpose of evaluating the change.

At the point that the franchise changes for EU citizens come into effect, changes will be made to the application to register to vote forms and canvass communications in order to enable electors to understand the change to the eligibility criteria and to enable EROs to determine EU citizens’ eligibility under the new criteria. 

We will also update our existing guidance at that point, including our guidance on when a citizen from the European Union can register to vote and on the relevant franchise markers on the register. Our suite of templates for ITRs and canvass communications will also be updated to reflect these changes.  

Guidance on the changes to the rights of EU citizens to stand for election can be found in our guidance for candidates and agents .

Last updated: 11 January 2024