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Register to vote

Who can register?

In order to register to vote you must:

  • Be resident at an address in the district
  • Be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or of another member state of the European Union
  • Be 16 years old or above (although you cannot vote until your 18th birthday)
  • Not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

There are different provisions for British Citizens who are living abroad, electors who are serving in the Armed Forces, persons of no fixed abode, and persons who qualify to register anonymously.

You must be residing at your address in order for you to register there. You may not register if you are only temporarily living at an address or on holiday at an address. If you are a student you may register both at your home address and your university address but you may only vote once in any election.

Further information about who can register to vote can be found on the Electoral Commission’s About my vote website.

How do I register?

You can register to vote online at www.gov.uk/registertovote.

The process takes only a few minutes to complete and you will need your National Insurance number and date of birth in order to apply. Each person will need to apply individually to be registered.

When will I appear on the Register?

You can apply to be included on the Electoral Register at any time throughout the year - for example, if you move house, turn 18 or simply realise that you are not currently registered.

The date that we receive your application determines the date that we can legally add you to the Register. There are updates to the Register each month, and there is also a cut-off date before each election, so it is important that you register as soon as possible whenever you move or have changes to your details.

The Electoral Register and the Open Register

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 everybody 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.

Every person applying to become registered is asked to choose whether to have their details excluded from the open register. In addition, any elector can contact the elections team with their name and address at any time to ask us to remove their details from the open register.

Exclusion from the open register will not affect your voting rights or credit status.

Changing your name, address or other details

If you have moved home or changed your name, for example due to marriage or a change by deed poll, you will need to update your entry on the Electoral Register.

You can do this online at www.gov.uk/registertovote by making an application in your new name and giving your old name when prompted.

Alternatively you can complete a paper form and supply a photocopy of evidence to support your change of name, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll certificate. If you would like to apply in this way please contact the elections team to request a form.

Can I view the Electoral Register?

The publicly available version of the register, called the open register, is available for inspection without appointment. Not all electors are shown in this version as there is the option for everyone that registers to vote to ‘opt-out’ of the open register. The register is address-based, so anyone searching through the records would need to have an address or an area to search, rather than just the name of a person.

It is possible to view the full electoral register but this may only be done by appointment, and viewings are supervised and time-limited. 

Credit Reference and the Electoral Register

You may be asked to provide proof that you are on the Electoral Register for credit reference purposes. If you are on the Electoral Register then a Certificate of Registration can be provided to you as proof of your registration. (If you do not live in the Suffolk Coastal or Waveney District Council areas please contact your own Local Authority for further assistance – you can use the Find my council facility if you do not have contact details for your local authority).

A Certificate of Registration can only be provided once your details officially appear on the Electoral Register. If you are already on the Register this letter can be sent to you straight away but if you are currently applying to go on the Register then you should note that additions to the Register occur on a monthly basis for new applications. The date that your details will officially appear on the Register depends on the date that your application is received. The timetable for additions to the Register is fixed in law and, as such, we cannot process an application if it misses a particular deadline (it will instead be processed with the additions for the following month).

If you would like to request a Certificate of Registration please contact us.

Canvassers

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils employ canvassers each year to assist Councils in the completion of their Register of Electors – a list of the names and addresses of everyone who’s registered to vote.

Canvassers are required to visit all properties who have not yet responded to their annual voter registration forms and ask them to confirm the names of people registered to vote at that address and add anyone that is living there who is eligible to vote but isn’t registered.

In order to add anyone not previously registered, canvassers may need to ask for additional personal details such as date of birth, previous address, nationality and National Insurance number.

Alternatively, residents can register themselves online or request a registration form to be sent to them.

All canvassers will carry identification and will be using tablets to record the information for the first time.

Suffolk Police, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils Customer Services will have a list of approved canvassers.

Anyone concerned about the identity of a canvasser can contact:

Suffolk Coastal Customer Services
01394 383789

Waveney Customer Service Centre
01502 562111.

Canvassers will never ask residents for money, and anyone claiming to be a canvasser who is asking for money should be reported to Suffolk Police by calling 101.

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