Running electoral registration - England

Processing a change to an elector’s edited (open) register preference

An elector can change their opt-out preference at any time by making a request to you.

The request must contain their full name, address and an indication of whether they wish to be included in or omitted from the edited register.1  

The request can be made verbally or in writing. Where the information is provided verbally, you should make a written note of this for your records.

If a request is made in person or by telephone, you can confirm the change verbally. However, if the request is made in writing, you can choose to write back to the elector confirming that the change has been made but you are not required to do so.

If you decide to confirm a change to an elector’s preference in writing, you should also tell the elector when a revised version of the edited register reflecting the change will be published, and how to contact you if the information in the notice is not correct.2  

A request to change an edited register preference can be made at any time, but it must be received 14 calendar days before publication to be included in the next update.3   

What is an Article 21 request?
If you receive an Article 21 request you should treat it as a request to opt out of the edited register on a permanent basis (or until further notice).

Article 21 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives individuals a right to object to processing for direct marketing purposes and you are under a legal duty to comply with a valid request. 

The request has to be made by the elector themselves. A request should not be treated as valid if you receive it from a third party, such as a friend, family member or company alleging to be acting on the elector’s behalf, unless you are satisfied that the elector has authorised the third party to make an Article 21 request on their behalf.

If you are not satisfied, you should contact the third party and ask them to provide evidence that they have authorisation from the elector to make a request under Article 21 on their behalf. 

If this is not provided, you should make enquiries to the elector in question and should obtain the elector’s confirmation of authorisation. 

Only once you are satisfied that the elector themselves has authorised the third party to send the Article 21 notice can you treat the request as valid.

Last updated: 10 March 2021