The electoral register

Full and open registers

Full and open registers

There are 2 versions of the electoral register - the open register and the full version.

The full register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections.

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.

If you don’t want your details to appear on the open register you can opt out.

Opt out of the open register

More information about the electoral register

About the open register

The open register leaves out the names and addresses of those electors who have requested on their applications to register that their names be excluded from this version. 

This version of the register can legally be sold to anyone and used for any purpose, including direct marketing. If you do not want your details sold on to anyone else, you should complete the opt out form.

If you do not opt out, your details will be shown on the open register which can be sold to direct marketing companies and anyone else who wants to buy it.

About the full register

The full register lists the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote.

Circulation of the full register is strictly limited to individuals and organisations listed in the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001. 

Recipients of the full register may only use it for the purposes specified by the regulations, which are for electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime, safeguarding national security or checking the identities of individuals who have applied for financial services. 

It is a criminal offence for any recipient to disclose information from the full register or to use it for any other purposes than those set out above.

The full register is updated monthly between December and September through rolling registration.

Rolling registration

The electoral register is updated monthly between January and September. This is known as rolling registration. The rolling registration timetable below shows the dates by which we must receive your application form for your details to be updated.

The final monthly update of the year takes place on 1 September. Applications to register for this update must be received by 10 August.

If you miss this deadline the next date on which you can register is 1 December when the revised electoral register is published.

If your registration details are updated on 1 September you must still return your annual registration form. Rolling registration will begin again following the publication of the revised electoral register on 1 December.

Applications received byWill be published on
Tuesday 29 March 2016 Thursday 7 April 2016
Tuesday 12 April 2016 Thursday 21 April 2016
Monday 18 April 2016 Wednesday 27 April 2016
Monday 16 May 2016 Wednesday 25 May 2016
Tuesday 31 May 2016 Thursday 9 June 2016
Tuesday 7 June 2016 Thursday 16 June 2016
Friday 8 July 2016 Monday 1 August 2016
Wednesday 10 August 2016 Thursday 1 September 2016
Tuesday 22 November 2016 Thursday 1 December 2016

Inspection of the register

The government has introduced arrangements for inspecting the full register to ensure that information provided can be safeguarded.

The full register can only be viewed under supervision at the electoral services office at Brent Civic Centre, Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

It is an offence to make copies other than by hand written notes, and even then there are strict restrictions on what the information can be used for.

Misuse of data from the full register could lead to a fine of up to £5,000.

Alternatively the open register is available for inspection at any library in Brent.

The British Library

The British Library has the national collection of printed electoral registers. They only hold the full versions of the register.

Use of the register

Use of the electoral register

The electoral register is used by:

  • election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office for electoral purposes
  • the council for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime - the police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement
  • the HM Courts and Tribunals Service to call people up for jury service.

Credit reference agencies

The full register of electors can legally be sold to registered credit reference agencies. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.

To find out what these credit reference agencies use your data for, visit their websites:

  • Callcredit
  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • Crediva
  • Aristotle - although a registered credit reference agency they deal directly with companies and not members of the public.

Buying the open register

There is legislation which outlines the charges that all council's must make for requests for data from the open electoral register, these are:

  • in data form, the fee is £20 plus £1.50 for each 1,000 entries (or remaining part of 1,000 entries) in it
  • in printed form, the fee is £10 plus £5 for each 1,000 entries (or remaining part of 1,000 entries) in it.

The cost of collating the register is in excess of £200,000 each year. We do not make money from selling the open register.

Anyone wishing to opt their details out of the open register may do so when they register to vote or by filling in the opt out form.

Direct mail

If you do not want direct or junk mail sent to your home, register with the Mailing Preference Service.

Register searches

Online register searches

It is possible to search electoral registers using online commercial organisations. However, these organisations are only entitled to be supplied with information included in the open register.

Some organisations include:

You may find that your name appears on an online search despite you telling us that you do not want your name on the open register. This can happen if your details were passed on to the commercial organisation before you told us that you did not want to be on the open register. It may be that you have been living at your address since before 2002; when there was only one version of the register.

You should contact the commercial organisation if you want your name removed from their online search because your name is not on the up-to-date open register.