The electoral register and the open register

There are two versions of the electoral register - the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register lists the name and address of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • detecting crime
  • calling people for jury service
  • checking credit applications.

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. 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 does not affect your right to vote.

If you are concerned that having your name or address on the register may affect your safety, there could be other options available to you.  In certain circumstances, you can register without your name and address showing on the register.  To find out more, please contact the Electoral Services office.  You can find more information about both registers and how they may be used on the website (opens in a new window).

Keeping the register up to date

We are required by law to keep the register of eligible voters up to date. From July each year, we contact every household to find out if the details on the electoral register are correct. This is called the annual canvass.

Your household may be contacted in different ways, such as by:

  • post
  • email
  • phone
  • knocking on your door

If you need to update your details on the electoral register, it is important that you respond as soon as you can. This means we can save money by not sending reminders, and someone does not need to visit your property to get this information.

Impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 canvass

The 2020 canvass will run from 27 July 2020. We are required to do this by law and it has not been suspended as a result of COVID-19.

When you are contacted, if you need to make a change to your registration information, please respond as soon as possible. It will make sure the process run smoothly and it will also mean that there will be no need for additional contact, such as visiting your household, which is particularly important at the moment.