How can individuals register to vote?
Individuals are able to apply to register to vote in a number of ways:1
- online via the central government website - www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
- by providing the necessary information in writing (e.g. on a paper form)
- by telephone to your staff (if you offer the service)
- in person at your office (if you offer the service)
You are obliged to send an invitation to register (ITR) to potential electors within 28 days of becoming aware of them. However if you have an email address for a potential elector you could, in the first instance, use it to encourage them to submit an online application or issue an ITR by electronic means.
The register to vote website will not allow a person to submit an application to register to vote online unless they provide all the information necessary or have given a reason as to why this cannot be provided. You may, however, receive applications on paper which do not contain all the information required for processing. In such cases, you will be able to obtain the missing information through various channels, irrespective of how the original application was made.
While there is a specific process to follow where someone cannot provide their date of birth, National Insurance number or nationality, you can collect missing information by telephone, in person or via email. For example, it may not be clear from a paper application whether a missing National Insurance number was an oversight by the potential elector or was not included because they cannot provide it. Where you have the telephone number or email address for that elector, you can obtain the missing information through those channels.
Promotion of the application channels available
You should make sure that your potential electors know how to apply to register. You should ensure that you:
- provide a link to the online registration form on any relevant pages of your website (and the council’s, if that is separate)
- provide a link to online registration wherever electoral registration may be relevant including, for example, on any online system for setting up new council tax accounts and on the websites of partner organisations
- set out the alternative registration channels for those who cannot, or do not wish to, apply online
- liaise with local parties and candidates to share information on how to register online or obtain registration forms
- liaise with other local partners you work with to promote registration in any materials they may distribute to or use to communicate with residents
- provide a clear link to the online application form at the end of any process you provide for responding to canvass communications
You should make clear the various application channels so that electors can make a choice that best meets their needs and preferences. Promoting the different ways of registering should make the application process as accessible as possible.
What can a person do to assist another person to register to vote?
We have produced a factsheet for care homes that you can adapt to reflect your particular circumstances. The factsheet is based on our assisted applications guidance which details what one person can do to support another to register.
Information supplied as part of an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document
You cannot use any information supplied as part of an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document, such as a National Insurance number, for any other purpose than the processing of that application.2 This means that you cannot use the information provided as part of an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document to complete a registration application for the same elector if they are not registered to vote. The registration process is prescribed and requires the elector to provide a declaration that the information on the application is true.3
Information included on a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document also cannot be used to complete registration applications where the registration application is incomplete or the information supplied with the registration application has not matched with DWP records. Further information on potential data sources that can be used for local data matching can be found in our guidance.
We would advise, however, that where you have received an application for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector's Document from an elector who is not already on the electoral register, that you may use this information to invite them to register. More information on the potential sources of data to register electors can be found in our guidance.