Running electoral registration - England

Managing the verification of applications received close to an election registration deadline

Managing the verification of applications received close to an election registration deadline

A complete registration application (i.e. an application containing all the information required for an application) must be made by midnight, 12 working days before the poll1 to be valid for an election. 

Even when an application for registration is received near to the application deadline for inclusion on the register for an election, you must still send the relevant information for verification matching against DWP records and take account of the result when determining the application.
You can expect to receive the results of the verification matching from the IER Digital Service within 24 hours. However, if an applicant cannot be verified, you will have limited time to undertake the additional steps required to get them verified before the determination deadline.
These steps include carrying out local data matching and advising the applicant to provide documentary evidence under the exceptions process if necessary. 

In the run up to an election, you may choose to take steps to minimise length of time required before being able to determine an application. 

For example, you could choose to proceed with local data matching before the results of the DWP match have been returned. If the identity of the applicant can be verified using local data, and then a negative match result is then returned by the IER Digital Service, you can use the local data match in order to determine the application without any further input from the elector.

If local data matching does not verify the applicant’s identity and you have still not received the results of verification from the IER Digital Service, you could advise the applicant that it might be beneficial to their application for them to voluntarily supply the necessary evidence for the documentary exceptions process at that stage, in advance of the verification result being received.

If the applicant does voluntarily choose to provide the evidence at this point, in the event that the IER Digital Service returns a negative match result, you can use the documentary evidence to determine the application. 

You must have processes in place to securely record and store any documentary evidence that you receive. You are only permitted to continue to hold the documentary evidence that has been provided in these circumstances if it is used to determine an application in the event of a negative match result,2 if the IER Digital Service returns a positive match, the documentary evidence is unnecessary and must be destroyed. You will therefore also need to have processes in place to securely destroy documents where necessary.  

If the results of the applicant’s identity verification are not returned by the IER Digital Service by midnight on the day before the election determination deadline (by midnight, seven working days before the poll), then you should refer to the contingency guidance.
You will need to consider the benefits and risks of requesting evidence in these circumstances. You will need to take into account the potential for voter confusion balanced against doing what you can to ensure that everyone who has applied by the registration deadline can be registered in time to be able to vote in the election. In no circumstances should you ask for documentary evidence to be submitted with a registration application - this may discourage applications from being made, and could cause confusion about the registration process.


Last updated: 24 August 2020