Electoral Registration

Electoral Registration

Electoral Registration - Annual Canvass

What is the Register of Electors?

The Register of Electors is a list of everybody who is entitled to vote. The Register is compiled every year.  This year the annual canvass will take place from 1 October 2013 to January 2014 and the revised register will be published on 17 February 2014.  You can add your name to the register of electors at any time during the year. A completed, signed voter registration form must be sent to us, we will then add your name to our list of new electors, provided you qualify.

Rolling Registration

You can change your details on the Electoral Register if you move house at any time during the year. This means that you don't have to wait until the next annual canvass.

If you have moved since the last annual update of the register, or you are not registered and wish to register to vote, then please contact the Electoral Services Section for an application to be registered form. Alternatively a copy is available below to download. As the form requires your signature it cannot be completed online. The application form includes a box in which applicants may indicate their wish to opt-out of the edited register which is available for sale.

Rolling registration does not operate during the annual canvass.  The Monthly Rolling Register Updates will recommence in March 2014.    

Who is entitled to register?

You are entitled to register if you are able to satisfy the following criteria:

  • you are a British, Commonwealth or Irish citizen, or a citizen of one of the European Union Member States.
  • you are, 16 or 17 or will reach the age of 18 during the life of the Register.

Find out more about your entitlement to vote

A visa allowing foreign nationals to stay in the UK indefinitely is not the same as citizenship. The only way that you could become entitled to vote would be by adopting British citizenship. To find out more, contact the British Naturalisation Office at British Naturalisation, Nationality Directorate, PO Box 36, India Buildings, Liverpool, L2 0QN.

Who has my personal details?

Until 2002, anyone could buy a copy of the register to use for any purpose.  But the law was changed to give you some choice about who can buy details of your name and address.

There are now two versions of the electoral register:  The full version and the edited version.  When you fill in your form, you can choose to ‘opt-out’ of the edited version, which anyone can buy

Your choice

If you tick the Edited Register box on the voter registration form, your name and address will only appear on the full register, which is used for elections, referendums and certain other purposes.

If you do not tick the box on the voter registration form, your name and address will also appear on the edited version of the register, which anyone can buy.  This means anyone can use your details for any purpose.

The person who fills in and signs the registration form for your address must ask each person named on the form if they want their details to appear on the edited register.

Make sure your choice is clear every year

Three more things to remember about registering to vote

  1. You must register every year.  You are not automatically registered, even if you pay Council Tax.
  2. If you move house, you can register at your new address at any time of the year.
  3. If you’re living away from home, for example if you’re a student, you can register at more than one address (but you can only vote once in any single election).

The Full Register

The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. Only certain people and organisations can have copies of the full register and they can only use it for specified purposes. These include electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime and checking your identity when you have applied for credit. The law says who can have a copy of the full register and what they can use it for. The full list of people able to see it, and for what purposes, is given in the Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002.

It is a criminal offence for them to pass it on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose. The full register can be checked at our offices at Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham.  However, anyone checking the full register must be supervised and they may only make hand written notes. Anyone who wishes to make an extended search should telephone 01362 656875 to make appropriate arrangements.

The Edited Register

The edited register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have asked for them to be excluded from that version of the register. The edited register can be purchased by anyone and it may be used for any purpose.

Why should people register?

If you are not included on the Register of Electors you will not be able to vote in any Local Government, Referendum or Parliamentary and European Parliamentary, Police and Crime Commissioner Elections. It will be much harder to obtain credit. Major credit agencies use the Register of Electors as a form of credit check for all kinds of finance e.g. Mortgages, Credit Cards etc. If you are not on the register you may be declined finance.

Can I register anonymously?

If you feel that your safety would be affected by your name appearing on the electoral register, then you can apply to be entered as an anonymous elector. If your application is accepted, then this will mean that neither your name nor address would appear on the register.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who feels they are at risk by their name appearing on the register of electors. For example, those escaping domestic violence or those that wish to keep their identity private due to the nature of their occupation. Any person living at the same address can also register anonymously

How to register Anonymously

You will need to complete an anonymous_registration_form  providing a reason as to why you wish to be registered anonymously. You are required by law to provide documentary evidence to support you application in the form of a court order or injunction. If you do not have one of these, then your application must be supported by one of the following people;

  • An Officer of the rank of Superintendent or above of any police force in England or Wales,
  • An Officer of the rank of Superintendent or above of any police force in Scotland or the police service of Northern Ireland,
  • The Director General of the Security Services or the Serious Organised Crime Agency,
  • A Director of Adult Social Services or the Children's Services in England, a director of Social Services in Wales or a chief social work officer in Scotland.

Can I register twice?

You can register for more than one address. If you are a student living away from home, at college or university, you can register to vote at both your home and term-time address. You can also register for two addresses if you have a second home and live there regularly.

Both students and those with a second home have the right to vote in respect of both addresses at the time of a local election, but must choose only one address to vote at a parliamentary election.

Change of details

If you have changed your name through marriage or have moved home you will need to a complete a new voter registration form and send it to us. (See section 'How to get on the Electoral Register')

You can also get a voter registration form from the Electoral Commission, at the website shown at the bottom of this page under external links.

How to get on the Electoral Register

To exercise 'your right to vote' at elections, you must be included on the register of electors. During the annual canvass period, between August and November, each household in the district will receive a registration form. Please complete and return this form as soon as possible to ensure your continued registration when the revised register is published on the 1st December annually.

Please click here for a Voter Registration Form

Postal Voting

New Postal Voting Security Arrangements

The Absent Voting (Transitional Provisions) (England & Wales) Regulations 2006

Following a change in the law that came into force on 1 January 2007, electors who wish to vote by post for an election on or after 3 May 2007, are now required to provide their date of birth and a specimen of their signature.

Your personal identifiers, i.e. signature and date of birth will be stored securely.  Each time you vote by post, your signature and date of birth provided on the postal voting statement will be checked against these identifiers, to ensure your postal vote remains secure.

If you are unable to provide a signature, or you are unable to sign in a consistent or distinctive way because of any disability, or you are unable to read or write, the Electoral Registration Officer, in these circumstances, may grant an exemption. 

You can apply for a postal vote for one election, one year, or indefinitely.  The choice is yours. If you apply to vote by post, a ballot paper is sent to your home about 11 days before the election.  If you are likely to be away at this time, you can arrange for the ballot paper to be sent to your away address.

If you arrange for your postal vote to be sent to you at your overseas address, you should be confident that the postal services are able to deliver the postal vote to you and return it to the relevant election office in the UK within five working days.  If you are not confident that this can be done, it might be appropriate for you to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Electoral Services must receive all new applications for postal votes by no later than 5pm on the eleventh working day before the day of the election. 

Please note that if you apply to vote by post you are not able to vote in person at the polling station.

If you are an existing postal/proxy voter please contact the electoral services office should you wish to change any of your details or to cancel your absent vote.

For any further information please contact us on the details below.  

External Links

Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 can be obtained from Her Majesty's Stationery Office:


Further information on how to register to vote can be found at:




Electoral Services
Breckland Council
Elizabeth House
Walpole Loke
NR19 1EE

01362 656870