Running electoral registration - Scotland

How should an application for anonymous registration be processed?

How should an application for anonymous registration be processed?

Acknowledging applications

There is no legal requirement for an application to be acknowledged although you do have discretion to send an acknowledgement if you wish. In all cases, you are required to send a confirmation if the application is successful, as set out below.

Verifying applications

Applications should be processed and the applicant’s identity verified as soon as possible after receipt. 

If you receive an application where the qualifying address falls outside your area it should be forwarded to the relevant ERO without delay.

Any applicant who fails the DWP match must provide documentary evidence, or if they cannot provide documentary evidence, an attestation in the same way as people applying to register as an ordinary elector.  See our guidance on verification, exceptions and attestations.

All correspondence between you and applicants may be sent electronically. In addition, it is permissible for applicants to provide attestations or documentary evidence by electronic means such as a fax or scanned image.

Where an application to register anonymously is made by a person under 18 years old for the purpose of registering in the local government register, and that person's identity cannot be verified by education records or other local data, you should ask them to provide documentary evidence, or if they cannot do so, an attestation, in the same way as people applying to register as an ordinary elector.

Anonymous registration application details such as name and address are not added to the lists of applications. Anonymous applications are not available for public inspection at any time.1
This means that these applications do not have the same type of public scrutiny as other electoral registration applications. You should therefore be particularly proactive in being satisfied that all the requirements for registration are met.

When an anonymous application is received, all previous ‘ordinary’ applications either awaiting determination or determined but not added to the register for that individual are suspended until the anonymous application is determined. If the anonymous application is rejected, then all pending applications for registration must be disregarded. If the anonymous registration application is rejected, they cannot be added as an ordinary elector.

Confirming applications and declarations

If you determine that an applicant is entitled to be registered anonymously, you must issue a certificate of anonymous registration.2  You must also send them a notice by post, as soon as is reasonably practicable, to inform them that they must have an Anonymous Elector's Document if they want to vote in person at UK parliamentary elections, or sign a signing sheet in person at a recall petition.3  You should also consider confirming any absent voting arrangements that are in place, or if no arrangements are in place you should make clear what their absent voting options are. If a person already has an entry on the register and an anonymous application is accepted, the ordinary register entry must be removed and the anonymous registration added. However, the existing entry must not be removed until the anonymous application is accepted. 

If you have rejected an application, you should notify the applicant and inform them of the reasons why.

The details of a person who has made an application to register anonymously must not be added to the register if the anonymous part of the application fails.4 However, you should encourage them to submit an ordinary registration application and invite them to register. If they do not submit an application in response to an invitation, you may require them to submit an application to register, but you should consider the individual’s particular circumstances before issuing a ‘requirement to register’ notice.

Where a requirement to register is issued to a person under 16 years old, it must not include reference to the civil penalty as a civil penalty cannot be imposed on a person under 16 years old.

Last updated: 12 December 2023