FAQs about voting and register



How can I find out if my name is on the register?

Contact Electoral Services on 020 7361 3444, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. The current version of the electoral register is available for public inspection by appointment only at the Local Studies and Archives section of Kensington Central library. To make an appointment phone Kensington Central Library.


When is the electoral register published?

A fully revised version of the electoral register is published by 1 December each year. This revision takes account of all changes notified during the annual registration canvass that takes place each autumn.


How can I view the electoral register?

The current version of the electoral register is available for public inspection by appointment only at the Local Studies and Archives section of Kensington Central library. To make an appointment phone the Kensington Central Library.

When I register to vote, will my details be passed on to lots of marketing companies?

There are two versions of the electoral register, the full version and the edited version. The edited register is available for general sale and can be used for commercial activities like marketing. When you register to vote, you can choose to tick a box to opt out of the edited register, which means your details cannot be used for marketing purposes.

The full register is only available to certain people and organisations, and only for specific purposes. These include electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime, and checking identity when you have applied for credit such as a mortgage, a loan or a bank account. It is not available to marketing companies.


Can I register to vote over the telephone or internet?

During the annual registration canvass you can use the telephone or internet to re-register household details if there are no changes to be made to details on the form. Otherwise no, you will need to complete a form.

When I move, does my registration automatically get amended?

No. you must complete a fresh application to register at your new address and send it to the Electoral Services Office at The Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX


If I pay council tax am I automatically registered to vote?

No. You must still register to vote. You can download a form from the Registering to vote page.

back to top

How long does it take to get registered?

During the months of December to August, registration can take up to about six weeks as a statutory timetable must be followed. Written confirmation of inclusion in the register will be sent to every successful applicant.

If I am registered, do I have to vote?

No, although the law states that you must return registration information when requested to do so, there is no obligation on you to vote.

Am I eligible to vote?

See the list of eligible countries on the About My Vote website's registration pages.

I am a student – where do I register?

Students may register to vote at their term-time address, their home address or both. However, you can only vote once in the same election.

Can I register if I do not have a permanent address?

Anyone without a permanent address can register in the area where they spend a substantial part of their time, even if that is not a permanent residential address. You need a special form to do this. Contact Electoral Services on 020 7361 3444 to arrange for a form to be sent to you, or you can collect one from the Electoral Services Office, The Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX between the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

I am in the Armed Forces living in the UK. Do I have to register annually?

If you register as a service Voter you will only have to re-register every three years, and the Electoral Services Office will write to remind you when re-registration is required. Alternatively, download the Armed Forces form from the About My Vote website.

back to top

Can I register if I am moving abroad?

Yes – guidance for overseas electors can be found on the Registering to vote page.

Why should I register to vote?

If you do not register to vote, you will not be able to vote at any elections and therefore be unable to influence who makes important decisions on your behalf.

Do I have to register to vote for every election?

In the United Kingdom, your registration lasts for a year. This means that as long as you return your annual voter registration form, which will be distributed to your household every autumn, or complete an individual application to register, you will be registered and you will be able to vote whenever an election is called.


If the information on the annual canvass form is correct what do I do?

Even if there are no changes to the pre-printed details on the form delivered to your property you must still notify the Electoral Services Office that it is correct. You can do so by either using the telephone, Internet or SMS services advertised on the form; or by signing the form and sending it back in the pre-paid envelope provided.

back to top

How can I find out who the candidates are?

Lists of candidates are published on this website before all elections.

Must I have my poll card to vote at a polling station?

No - but it will help staff at the polling station if you do have it.

What are the hours of poll?

Polling stations are open for voting from 7am - 10pm.

Why do the election staff write down my electoral number at the polling station before allowing me to vote?

Every ballot paper has a unique serial number and by law, a record is kept of every serial number issued to every voter.

If I make a mistake on my ballot paper in the polling station can I have a new one?

Yes - you should ask the presiding officer for a replacement paper. The 'spoilt' ballot paper will be taken from you but not put into the ballot box.

What if I make a mistake and spoil my postal ballot paper?

You can ask for a new postal ballot paper but should do so as quickly as possible. Before you can have a replacement, all the documents that came with your original pack (including the ballot paper itself) have to be delivered to the Returning Officer. If you need a replacement ballot paper or any of the other documents that came with your postal vote, call the Electoral helpline on 020 7361 3444 as quickly as possible. Replacements cannot be provided after 5pm on the day of the election.

back to top

How can I find out where my polling station is?

Details of your polling station and a map showing its location will be on your polling card. If you are still unsure of where to find it please contact Electoral Services.

What help is available at the polling station for people with disabilities?

Every polling station in the borough has the following available.

Do I have to give a reason for requesting a postal vote?

No - a postal vote is available on demand but you must make a written application. See the Postal and proxy voting page.

Does the postal vote have to be sent to my home address?

No, you can have the postal vote sent wherever you wish. However, if you want your ballot paper to be sent to an address other than the one you are registered to vote at, you must tell us why. We can refuse to send the ballot paper to the requested address if we are not satisfied by your reasons.


If I have applied for a postal vote, can I still vote at the polling station?

No - but on Election Day you can return your postal vote to the polling station before 10pm (or to the Returning Officer) if you no longer want to post it or if it is too late to post.

What if I asked for a postal vote and it did not arrive?

You should contact the Electoral helpline as quickly as possible as there is only a limited time to get a replacement to you. When you apply to vote by post the Electoral Registration Officer will send you a letter to confirm your request has been received. If you do not receive this letter, then your application has probably not been received. If you think you should have received a postal vote and you haven't received it at least four working days before an election day, please call the Electoral helpline on 020 7361 3444 immediately.

What can I do if it's Election Day and I haven't posted my postal vote back?

Postal votes must be posted in good time in order to reach the Returning Officer by 10pm on the day of the election. You are advised to post your ballot paper at least two days before Election Day.

back to top

How long does my postal vote application last?

You can say on the form whether or not you want a postal vote for all future elections, for a specified period of time, or just for one election.

What is a proxy vote?

This is when you appoint a relative or friend to vote on your behalf. This person can vote in person at your polling station on Election Day, or choose to have a postal vote (postal proxy vote).

Do I have to have my proxy application countersigned?

Unless you are registered blind, you may have to get someone to support your application to confirm that your reason for applying to vote by proxy is valid. Read the notes that accompany the application form to find out if you need to get someone to support your application and who can do it. Visit the About My Vote website for further information.

Who can vote on my behalf as proxy?

Anyone can be your proxy if they are eligible to vote in that type of election. See the Postal and proxy voting page.

What if the person I want to proxy vote for me can't get to the polling station easily?

They can apply to proxy vote by post. Your application for a proxy vote asks you to indicate whether this might be the case. If you tell us so, we will send your proxy the necessary form.

How long does my proxy appointment last?

This depends upon your reason for making the application in the first place. Please contact Electoral Services on 020 7361 3444 for further guidance.

back to top