Registering to vote

Your Vote Matters

The registration system changed in June 2014. The new system is called ‘Individual Electoral Registration’ and allows you to register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

How is the new system different?

Everyone is responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of every household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.

You need to provide a few more details to register – including your National Insurance number and date of birth. This makes the electoral register more secure.

How do I register under the new system?

Go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote  

  • The form is simple to complete - fill in your name, address, date of birth and a few other details. You’ll need your National Insurance number.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I find my National Insurance Number (NINO)?

A National Insurance number is a reference number used by government. The easiest place to find your National Insurance number is on official paperwork, such as your National Insurance card, payslips or letters from the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Students may be able to find it in their university registration details or application for student loan. If you still can’t find it, you can use the HMRC enquiry service at www.gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number.

If you don’t have access to the Internet you can call the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0300 200 3502.
Please be aware HMRC won't tell you your National Insurance number over the phone, they'll post it to you. Alternatively, you can write to:

HM Revenue & Customs
National Insurance Contributions & Employer Office National Insurance Registrations Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Most people in the UK have a National Insurance number. If you do not have one, you will be asked to explain why you are unable to provide it. The Electoral Services team may contact you to ask you for proof of identity.


I don’t know my date of birth

If you do not know your actual date of birth, you may have been given an official one in the past and this can be used to register to vote. This can be found on paperwork, including a passport, adoption certificate, driving licence or naturalisation certificate. If you do not have one, you will need to explain why you are unable to provide it in your registration application. The Electoral Services team may contact you to ask you for proof of identity.


Proof of identify

It may be necessary for you to provide the Electoral Services team with documentary evidence to support your application. Perhaps you do not know your date of birth or cannot provide a National Insurance number.
The types and quantities of documents required to successfully establish an applicant’s identity are as follows:

Documents required to support registration applications

Route 1: Applicants may provide any ONE document from table 1 to establish their identity

Route 2: Applicants who cannot provide any documents from table 1 can provide ONE document from table 2 and TWO additional documents from either table 2 or table 3 to establish their identity

Route 3: Applicants who cannot provide any documents from tables 1 or 2 can provide FOUR or more documents from table 3 to establish their identity.

Table 1 - Primary Identification Documents

Document Notes
Passport Any current passport
Biometric residence permit UK issued only
EEA ID Card Must still be valid
Photocard part of current driving licence UK or Isle of Man or Channel Islands full or provisional
Northern Ireland Electoral ID Card 

Table 2 - Trusted Government Documents

Document Notes
Old-style paper version of a current driving licence United Kingdom only
Current photo driving licence Any other than UK and Crown Dependencies
Birth certificate UK and Crown Dependencies only
Marriage or Civil Partnership certificate UK and Crown Dependencies only
Adoption certificate UK and Crown Dependencies only
Firearms licence UK and Crown Dependencies only
Police bail sheet UK and Crown Dependencies only

Table 3 - Financial and Social History Documents

Document Notes Issue date and validity
Mortgage statement UK, Crown Dependencies or EEA Issued in the last 12 months
Bank or Building Society Statement UK, Crown Dependencies or EEA Issued in the last 3 months
Bank or Building Society account opening confirmation letter UK and Crown Dependencies Issued in the last 3 months
Credit card statement UK, Crown Dependencies or EEA Issued in the last 3 months
Financial statement e.g., pension or endowment  UK, Crown Dependencies or EEA Issued in the last 3 months
Council Tax statement UK and Crown Dependencies Issued in the last 12 months
Utility bill UK and Crown Dependencies - not mobile phone bill Issued in the last 3 months
P45 or P60 statement UK and Crown Issued in the last 12 months

Already registered?

Make sure you’re still registered to vote. Look out for a letter that will tell you whether you need to take action.

You may need to take action to join the new register, even if you are currently registered. We are writing to people to tell them if they need to re-register. Look out for a letter that will tell you what to do. Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in.

What do I need to do?

  • Look out for your letter
    If you are registered to vote at the moment, you will receive a letter letting you know if you need to take action to join the new register. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The letter will look something like this:

Vote envelope

  • Respond to the letter if you are asked to

Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically. The letter will tell you if you’ve already been added to the new register and don’t have to do anything. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically. These people will need to re-register. The letter will tell you if you are in this group, and what you need to do to re-register.

What should I do if I need to re-register?
If the letter you receive tells you that you need to re-register, you should follow the instructions in the letter. It will ask you to fill in and return the included form, or go online to register using the new online registration site.

What should I do if I don’t get a letter?
If you haven’t received a letter about registration then you should contact local electoral registration staff for information on whether or not you need to do anything.

About the new registration system

The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. It means:

  • Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
  • You can now register online
  • You need to provide a few more details to register – your National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.

Why should I register under the new system?

It’s really important that you respond to the letter if it asks you to take action. You need to register in order to be able to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have the chance to have a say on who represents you.

Some people also register to vote because they want to apply for credit. This is because credit reference agencies use the register to check where someone lives when they apply for credit in order to prevent fraud.

Not only will you not be able to have a say at future elections and some referendums, but if you don’t respond to requests for information from us you could be at risk of getting fined £80.


Movers and renters?

Moved home recently? Make sure you’re still registered to vote.
The way you register to vote is changing. If you have moved home recently, you may need to re-register in order to vote. Look out for your letter that will tell you what to do.
Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in.

What do I need to do?

  • Look out for your letter
    If you are registered to vote at the moment, you will receive a letter letting you know if you need to take action to join the new register.
    If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The letter will look something like this:

Vote envelope

  • Respond to the letter if you are asked to
    Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically. If the letter tells you that you are on the new register, you do not need to do anything. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically, particularly people who have moved home in the last 18 months. These people will need to re-register. The letter will tell you what to do.


What should I do if I need to re-register?
If the letter you receive tells you that you need to re-register, you should follow the instructions in the letter. It will ask you to fill in and return the included form, or go online to register using the new online registration site.

What should I do if I don’t get a letter?
If you haven’t received a letter about registration then you should contact local electoral registration staff for information on whether or not you need to do anything.

About the new registration system
The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. It means:

  • Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
  • You can now register online
  • You need to provide a few more details to register – your National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.

Why should I register under the new system?
It’s really important that you respond to the letter if it asks you to take action. You need to register in order to be able to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have the chance to have a say on who represents you. If you don’t respond to requests for information from us you could be at risk of getting fined £80.


Young adults / attainers

Aged 18 to 24? Make sure you don’t lose your vote.
The registration system is changing and you may need to re-register to vote. It’s quick and easy to do and you can do it online. We are writing to people to tell them if they need to re-register. Look out for a letter that will tell you what you need to do.

You need to be registered in order to be able to vote. Voting is an important right that allows you to have your say in how things are run. Many young people are missing from the register, which means that they are unable to vote and unable to have this say. It’s your right and responsibility to ensure that you are registered. Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in. 

What do I need to do?

  • Look out for your letter
    If you are registered to vote at the moment, you will receive a letter letting you know if you need to take action to join the new register. No-one else can do this for you. It’s your right and responsibility to ensure that you are registered so it’s important that you take any action the letter tells you to. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The letter will look something like this:

Vote envelope

  • Respond to the letter if it asks you to
    Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically. The letter will tell you if you’ve already been added to the new register and don’t have to do anything. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically. These people will need to re-register. The letter will tell you if you are in this group, and what you need to do to re-register.

What should I do if I need to re-register?
If the letter you receive tells you that you need to re-register, you should follow the instructions in the letter. It will ask you to fill in and return the included form, or go online to register using the new online registration site.

What should I do if I don’t get a letter?
If you haven’t received a letter about registration then you should contact local electoral registration staff for information on whether or not you need to do anything.

About the new registration system
The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. It means:

  • Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
  • You can now register online
  • You need to provide a few more details to register – your National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.

Why should I register under the new system?
It’s really important that you respond to the letter if it asks you to take action. You need to register in order to be able to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have the chance to have a say on who represents you. If you don’t respond to requests for information from us you could be at risk of getting fined £80.


Students?

Busy studying? It won’t take long to make sure you don’t lose your vote.
The registration system is changing and you may need to re-register to vote. It’s quick and easy to do and you can do it online. We are writing to people to tell them if they need to re-register. Look out for a letter that will tell you how.

You need to be registered in order to be able to vote. Voting is an important right that allows you to have your say in how things are run. Many students are missing from the register, which means that they are unable to vote and unable to have this say. It’s your right and responsibility to ensure that you are registered. Look out for a letter that will tell you what to do. Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in.

What do I need to do?

  • Look out for your letter
    If you are registered to vote at the moment, you will receive a letter letting you know if you need to take action to join the new register. No-one else can do this for you. It’s your right and responsibility to to ensure that you are registered so it’s important that you take any action the letter tells you to. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The letter will look something like this:

Vote envelope

  • Respond to the letter if it asks you to
    Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically. If the letter tells you that you are on the new register, you do not need to do anything. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically, particularly some students. These people will need to re-register. The letter will tell you if you are in this group, and what you need to do to re-register.

What should I do if I need to re-register?
If the letter you receive tells you that you need to re-register, you should follow the instructions in the letter. It will ask you to fill in and return the included form, or go online to register using the new online registration site.

What should I do if I don’t get a letter?
If you haven’t received a letter about registration then you should contact local electoral registration staff for information on whether or not you need to do anything.

About the new registration system
The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. It means:

  • Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
  • You can now register online
  • You need to provide a few more details to register – your National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.

Why should I register under the new system?
It’s really important that you respond to the letter if it asks you to take action. You need to register in order to be able to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have the chance to have a say on who represents you. If you don’t respond to requests for information from us you could be at risk of getting fined £80.


Transient renters and communal residences

Changed address recently? Make sure you’re still registered to vote. 
The way you register to vote is changing. If you have changed address recently you are more likely to need to take action to join the new register, even if you were registered in the past. We are writing to people to tell them if they need to re-register. Look out for a letter that will tell you what to do. Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in.

What do I need to do?

  • Look out for your letter
    If you are registered to vote at the moment, you will receive a letter you know if you need to take action to join the new register. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The letter will look something like this:

Vote envelope

  • Respond to the letter if you are asked to
    Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically. If the letter tells you that you are on the new register, you do not need to do anything. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically, particularly people who have recently changed address. These people will need to re-register. The letter will tell them what to do.

What should I do if I need to re-register?
If the letter you receive tells you that you need to re-register, you should follow the instructions in the letter. It will ask you to fill in and return the included form, or go online to register using the new online registration site.

What should I do if I don’t get a letter?
If you haven’t received a letter about registration then you should contact local electoral registration staff for information on whether or not you need to do anything.

About the new registration system
The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. It means:

  • Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
  • You can now register online
  • You need to provide a few more details to register –your National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.

Why should I register under the new system?
It’s really important that you respond to the letter if it asks you to take action. You need to register in order to be able to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have the chance to have a say on who represents you. If you don’t respond to requests for information from us you could be at risk of getting fined £80.


New to UK

New to the UK? If you receive a letter inviting you to register to vote it’s really important you respond.

The registration system in this county is changing, so even if you have registered to vote before, you may need to take action to join the new register. We are writing to people to tell them if they need to re-register. Look out for a letter that will tell you what to do. Your vote matters. Make sure you’re in.

What do I need to do?

  • Look out for your letter
    If you are registered to vote at the moment, you will receive a letter letting you know if you need to take action to join the new register. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

The letter will look something like this:

Vote envelope

  • Respond to the letter if you are asked to
    Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically. If the letter tells you that you are on the new register, you do not need to do anything. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically, particularly people who have recently changed address. These people will need to re-register. The letter will tell them what to do.

Am I eligible (allowed) to register?
You can register to vote if you are 16 Years old or over and a British citizen or an Irish, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen who is resident in the UK.

To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and either have leave to enter or remain in the UK or not require such leave. The definition of a 'Commonwealth Citizenincludes citizens of British crown dependencies and British overseas territories.

Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Republic of Ireland) are able to vote in European and local elections in the UK, elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies (If they live in those areas) and some referendums (based on the rules for the particular referendum) but are not able to vote in the UK Parliamentary general elections.

What should I do if I need to re-register?
If the letter you receive tells you that you need to re-register, you should follow the instructions in the letter. It will ask you to fill in and return the included form, or go online to register using the new online registration site.

What should I do if I don’t get a letter?
If you haven’t received a letter about registration then you should contact local electoral registration staff for information on whether or not you need to do anything.

About the new registration system
The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration. It means:

  • Everyone has become responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
  • You can now register online
  • You need to provide a few more details to register – your National Insurance number and date of birth. This is to make the electoral register more secure.


Why should I register under the new system?
It’s really important that you respond to the letter if it asks you to take action. You need to register in order to be able to vote. If you aren’t registered to vote, you won’t have the chance to have a say on who represents you. If you don’t respond to requests for information from us you could be at risk of getting fined £80.


Who can register?

You can register to vote if you live in the borough, are 16 or over and are of British, Irish, EU or Commonwealth nationality.

Residence
You must live at the address when you apply to register, you cannot register before moving to an address. If you mainly live abroad please contact the helpline on 020 7613 444.

Age
Only those aged 18 or over can actually vote but you can register if you are 16 or 17.

Nationality
Nationality is regarded as passport/s held (or the right to hold a passport). For nationalities other than those listed above please note that indefinite leave to remain does not alter nationality.

Service Voters
Members of the armed forces and their partners may register as service voters or they can now register as ordinary electors. If you register as a Service Voter you will only have to re-register every five years and the Electoral Services Office will write to remind you when re-registration is required. To apply please go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Crown Servants
Crown servants working abroad and their partners, may register by completing the Crown servants online application form at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Overseas Electors
British Citizens living abroad may register by completing the Overseas Electors online application form. They can remain registered for up to 15 years after they last appeared on the register of electors in the United Kingdom. Citizens of the European Union Member States may vote at local and European elections. To apply please go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Anonymous Registration
Certain people can now apply to be entered anonymously on the register of electors. Although the register of electors is in alphabetical street order and not name order, there are some people who feel that being on the register of electors could affect their safety (such as people escaping from domestic violence, or those whose occupation requires them to keep their identity private). If you feel that having your name appear on the register of electors may put you at risk, you can apply to be entered anonymously. If your application is accepted, your name and address will not be shown. Any person living with you can also apply to vote in this way.

You will need to complete a form giving the reason you are applying for anonymous registration. You are required, by law, to provide documentary evidence in the form of a court order or injunction. If you do not have either of these, your application must be supported by one of the following people:

  • a Police Officer of, or above the rank of, Superintendent
  • the Director General of the Security Services of the Serious Organised Crime agency; or
  • a Director of Adult Social services’/Children Services

the qualifying officer does not have to be based in the same area as you, but the supporting documentation cannot be signed by a more junior person within their organisation.

To apply to register anonymously please contact a member of the Electoral Services Office on 020 7361 3444.


There are two registers. Why?

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections.

The register is used for electoral purposes – such as making sure only eligible people can vote – and for other limited purposes specified in law. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.

Who uses the electoral register?

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.
  • Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.
  • The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the laws and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.
  • The register is used when calling people for jury service.
  • Government departments may but the register form local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.
  • Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data protection legislation.

Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register would not affect your right to vote.

Who uses the open register?

Users of the open register include:

  • Businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online;
  • Businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers;
  • Charities and voluntary agencies, for example to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other;
  • Charities, to help with fund raising and contacting people who have made donations;
  • Debt collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors;
  • Direct marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists;
  • Landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants;
  • Local councils when identifying and contacting residents;
  • Online directory firms to help users of the websites find people, such as when reuniting friends and families;
  • Organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies;
  • Private sector firms to verify details of job applicants.

How soon will my name be added?

Names cannot be added to the register immediately as the law specifies when the register can be updated. Please note these rules change during the run up to an election, when you will be able to register up to twelve working days before polling day.


 The deadlines for adding names to the register in 2014 are as follows:

Forms received by Date to be added to register
Thursday 10 July 2014 Friday 1 August 2014
Friday 8 August 2014 Monday 1 September 2014

The last additions to the current version of the electoral register will be published on Monday 1 September 2014 with the fully revised register published on Monday 1 December 2014. This will be the first register published under Individual Electoral Registration.

Contact Electoral Services

Email: elect@rbkc.gov.uk

Electoral Helpline: 020 7361 3444 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm)

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