Register to vote

You are responsible for registering yourself to vote.

You are not automatically registered to vote by other contact you have with us, such as when you register for council tax.

If you know someone who cannot register to vote online we can send them a paper registration form. Email us with their name and address to

Alternatively they can register over the phone by telephoning 01482 300 302.

Anyone calling to register needs their National Insurance Number to hand as this is required as part of the application.

The electoral register is only updated at certain times of the year, generally the first working day of every month, apart from October and November. Please be aware these are strict legal deadlines which we are unable to change.

Find out what dates the elector register is updated

Why register

  • you must be on the electoral register to vote in future elections and referendums
  • by law you must respond to an invitation to register to vote or you could be fined up to £80 
  • if you are not on the register you may find it harder to get a loan, mortgage, finance agreement or even a mobile phone contract as the register is used by credit reference agencies

Who can register

You can register to vote if you are - 

  • 16 or older, although you can't vote until your 18 
  • a British Citizen 
  • Irish, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen living in the UK

Access the Your vote matters website for a list of qualifying Commonwealth or European countries

You can't register to vote if you are in the UK illegally. 

Support for people with learning disabilities 

Mencap and the Cabinet Office have worked together to produce guidance on voting and registering for people with learning disabilities, their support workers and families. 

Access the Mencap website to find out more 

Every Vote Counts! have worked with people with learning disabilities and people who support them to develop easy information about -

  • politics
  • how politics affects people
  • how to get involved and have a say in how the country is run

Visit the Every Vote Counts! website for more information

Check if your registered to vote 

If you are not sure if you are registered to vote you can email us. Please include your name and address in the email. Alternatively, you can telephone us. 

If you need official confirmation, for example for a loan, you can request this by emailing us with your -

  • name
  • address
  • year(s) you require confirmation for

Once we receive this email we can confirm the next steps. 

Contact us by -

Fraud prevention

We have a duty to protect the public funds we administer and may use information that you provide for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other organisations responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes. 

For more information visit our fair processing notice 

Students or people with two addresses

If you split your time between two addresses, for example if you are a student and have a home address and a term time address, you can register to vote at both addresses, as long as they are both not in the same local authority area.

At local elections, you can vote in both places. At national elections such as a parliamentary general election or a referendum, you can only vote in one place but you can choose which place you vote in. Voting in more than one place at national elections is a criminal offence. 

People who live or work abroad

If you are a British citizen living abroad, you can register as an overseas elector. 

This allows you to vote in general elections, referendums and European elections in the constituency you last lived in, for 15 years from when you registered. 

You can't vote in local elections. 

You need to renew your overseas registration every 12 months and we contact you with instructions of what to do. 

When registering, you need your -

  • National Insurance Number
  • address at which you were last registered in the UK (know as your qualifying address)
  • passport number

Your name does not appear against your qualifying address on the electoral register. Overseas electors names are listed at the back of the register under the section 'other electors' and your overseas address is not shown.

Once registered as an overseas elector, you need to remember to apply for an absent vote if you are likely to be overseas on polling day.

If you want to vote from overseas you have two options - 

  • vote by proxy - this is where you appoint a person to vote on your behalf at the polling station linked to your qualifying address. If they do not live near your qualifying address, once appointed, they can apply for a postal proxy vote 
  • vote by post - we can send postal votes overseas. Due to the restrictions on the election timetable, the earliest we can dispatch postal votes is a few weeks before the polling day. Depending on where you live , it may take too long for your postal ballot to be sent back to us before it needs to be counted. If you think this applies to you, we would advise applying for a proxy vote

People in the armed forces 

People in the armed forces, their spouses and civil partners, can register to vote as a service voter or an ordinary elector. 

If you are based overseas, or expect to be posted abroad in the next year, register as a service voter. This allows you to be registered at a fixed address in the UK even if you move around.

A service voter registration also lasts for five years, once you are registered you should not have to worry whist you are overseas. 

If you are based in the UK and unlikely to be posted overseas or move address in the next year, you can register to vote as an ordinary elector. 

Anonymous voting 

Anonymous registration is available if your safety or any other person in the same household would be at risk if your name or address is made public. As an anonymous elector your name and address is not visible to anyone inspecting the register. 

To register anonymously you need to contact Electoral Services by telephoning 01482 300 300 for further information and an application form. You should not complete an application online. 

To complete an anonymous registration application, you need to provide court documents or get your application supported and signed by, for example, a senior police officer or director of social services. Anonymous registration is valid one year at a time and then must be renewed.

People with no fixed address 

You can still register to vote if you do not have a fixed address. This may be because you are a - 

  • patient in a mental health hospital 
  • homeless person 
  • person remanded in custody 

It is not possible to register online as a person with no fixed address. You should contact us by email or by phone and we can post you the application form. Alternatively you can collect a paper application form from The Guildhall between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. 

Contact us by -


01482 300 300


Alfred Gelder Street


Register to vote as a crown servant or as a British council employee 

If you work as a crown servant or as an employee of the British council overseas, you can register to vote as a service voter. 

You can also register if you are the spouse or civil partner of a crown servant or British council employee and you are accompanying them during their employment abroad. 

You must still fit the eligibility criteria in order to register as a crown servant. 

You can vote in all elections and referendums you are eligible for. 

If you are overseas at the time of an election or referendum you need to consider applying for a postal or proxy vote. When considering your options for voting as a crown servant or a British council employee working overseas, it is important to note that the postal vote is subject to the frailties of the international post system and it may not arrive with you or get back to us in time to be counted. For this reason appointing a proxy may be the best way to make sure you are able to cast your vote.