There are two registers - why?
Using information received from electors, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (previously known as the edited register).
The Electoral Register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. This 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.
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 fundraising 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.
Changing your Open Register preference
Please contact our Electoral Services helpline on 01462 474503 for more information on amending your open register preference.