Help & advice

Election help and advice

How do I register to vote?

The registration system changed in June 2014.  It is now the individual's responsibility to make sure they are registered on the electoral register.

You can register online at,  You will need to provide your name, new address, old address, National Insurance number and your date of birth.

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in UK elections and referendums. You are not automatically registered even if you pay council tax. The electoral register is the list of everyone who is registered to vote. 

Who can register to vote

You can register to vote if you are: 

  • 16 years old or over and 
  • a British citizen 
  • an Irish, EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizens. Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are those who have leave enter or remain in the UK, or do not require such leave.

There are also other categories of elector.  These are:

  • Service voters
  • Overseas
  • Students
  • Anonymous - You can register as an anonymous elector for safety reasons - such as if you are escaping violence.  To register anonymously you will need documentary evidence like a court order or an injunction. Please contact us for more details.

How do I vote?

In the UK, there are three different ways you can vote. How you vote is up to you. It may depend on what you find easiest or the most convenient method. Most people vote in person at a polling station. However, if you are not able to go to the polling station in person on election day, you can apply to vote by post or by proxy (someone voting on your behalf).

What is the difference between the electoral register and open register?

There are two registers produced - the electoral register and the open register. Your name and address will appear on the electoral register, but you can choose whether or not your details appear on the open register by contacting us.

The electoral register contains the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. You can view the electoral register at the Civic Offices. Only certain organisations are allowed to have copies of the electoral register. It can only be used for: electoral purposes, crime prevention and detection, and the vetting of applicants for credit. It is a criminal offence to use it for any unauthorised purpose or to pass it on to anyone else.

The open register is available for general sale and can be used for any purpose, including commercial activities such as marketing. It excludes the names and addresses of people who have opted out.

Assistance for People with Disabilities


If you need assistance with registering to vote, you will find that we have LARGE PRINT documentation available on request. You can also adjust the size of the text on these web pages by clicking on the text size button at the top.


If you need assistance with voting, you will find that most Polling Stations are equipped with;

  • a ramp to provide easier access to the building for those with impaired mobility where access via steps is otherwise required
  • a polling booth suitable for wheelchair users
  • a large print ballot paper to assist partially sighted voters
  • a device to enable blind or partially sighted voters to vote unaided.

A voter who cannot read or one who has a physical disability and who is unable to vote without assistance may be helped by a companion or by the staff within the Polling Station.

Facilities also exist for electors to vote by post or to appoint someone to vote on their behalf. Click for more information on these ways of voting voting by post or appointing someone to vote on your behalf as your proxy.

Frequently asked questions

Looking for a lost friend or relative?

Finding a lost friend or relative on the electoral register could be difficult because electoral registration is performed by the local electoral registration office for each area and there is no official centralised electoral register that can be searched.

If you want to look at the register to try to find a lost friend or relative, there are two versions of the electoral register that you can look at – the electoral version and the open version.  The electoral register is used only for elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit.  The open register is available for general sale and can be used for commercial activities such as marketing.  It is possible to search the open register using online commercial organisations, but it is not possible to search the electoral register in this way, as the full registers are only available to view in hard copy at each local electoral registration office.

Contact us

If you have any enquiries regarding electoral services please contact us:-

Telephone: 01252 774077 or email

Electoral and Registration Services
Civic Offices
Harlington Way
GU51 4AE

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