Running electoral registration - England

What are the residency requirements for registration purposes?

What are the residency requirements for registration purposes?

A person must be resident, on the relevant date, at the address at which they want to be registered.1 Residence has a particular meaning in electoral law and is not equivalent to residence for other purposes such as income tax or council tax.

Normally a person is resident at an address for electoral purposes if it is their permanent home address. 

When making a determination on someone’s residence, you need to consider the circumstances of the applicant, including the purpose they are present at a particular address for and/or the reasons they are absent. 

What is a qualifying address for electoral registration purposes?

The qualifying address is the address a person is entitled to be registered at. The applicant or elector must be deemed resident at this address in accordance with electoral legislation.

The register must include the qualifying addresses of those persons registered in it,2 subject to certain exceptions, including overseas and anonymous electors. More detailed information on these exceptions is available in our guidance on special category electors

Which electors are exempt from the residency requirement?

Certain categories of electors have special provisions entitling them to register despite not meeting the residence requirement. These electors include:

  • service voters 
  • anonymous electors
  • overseas electors

On submission of the relevant declaration together with their application to register to vote, such electors will be deemed to meet the residence requirement. Our guidance on special category electors provides further information on these types of electors and the process by which they can register. 

Does unlawful occupation of grounds or a property prevent registration?

Unlawful occupation of grounds or a dwelling does not disqualify a person from registering there if it is determined that this is their permanent residence. As a result any issue regarding tenancy, ownership or legal occupation of the property by the applicant must be disregarded in determining whether or not the residence requirement has been met.

Last updated: 25 May 2021