Changes to Electoral Registration

Individual electoral registration - IER

From summer 2014 the way in which people register to vote changed. This is a short explanation of the changes.

New registration arrangements and verification of applicants' identities

From 10 June 2014, all new registration applications can only be done individually.

Each applicant will be asked to give their:

  • Name
  • Address and previous address
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number

Each applicant's details will be checked against other records to verify their identity before the registration office can approve their application.

The introduction of individual registration is to help address concerns about potential fraud, and each person's identity needs to be verified before becoming registered.

If a person's name, date of birth and national insurance number are not verified after they have applied to be registered, the electoral registration office will contact them either:

  • To clarify any element of their application or
  • To ask the applicant to provide documentary evidence, such as a passport, to support their application

Initial identity checking for all current electors

Every current elector's name and address was checked against other records in order to verify the majority of people at the start of transition to individual registration.

This took place in late June and early July 2014, and used secure and tested data matching processes. Once each person's identity had been checked, the majority of electors will have had their identity 'confirmed'.

Confirmed electors

Each elector whose details were matched against other records was sent a letter in September 2014 advising that:

  • Their identity had been confirmed and
  • That they do not need to do anything about their registration unless their circumstances change, such as moving home or changing their name

Unconfirmed electors

Each elector whose identity was not matched against other records was sent an invitation in September 2014 to make a fresh application to register as an elector.

  • They will be given an individual application form, and asked either to complete and return the form or to register online
  • Those who do not respond will be sent a reminder, and we will also send a canvasser to encourage them to register
  • Failure to respond to these invitations is likely to affect people's ability to vote at the parliamentary general election in May 2015

There will be some households with a mix of confirmed and unconfirmed electors. This is expected because of the nature of the other records being used to verify people's identity.

Each unconfirmed elector still needs to make a fresh application, even if somebody else at their address doesn't.

The household form

Every year householders are required to complete a household form, which will now be referred to as the household enquiry form.

We wrote to every elector in summer 2014 and therefore did not also send them a household enquiry form. This is because they could respond to our letter telling us:

  • If people had ceased to live at their address or
  • If there were new residents who needed to apply for registration

In September 2014, we sent a household enquiry form to every address where we did not have anybody registered. The householders are required by law to give the required information.

We also sent the household forms to some addresses in multiple-occupancy.

When the forms were returned any new potential electors were sent invitations to become registered. From summer 2015 all households will be sent a household enquiry form every year.

Electoral Services