The electoral register
Registers are managed locally by registration officers. Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).
The electoral register lists the names and addresses 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 (eg, fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.
The open register
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.
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
- Charities and voluntary agencies
- Debt collection agencies
- Direct marketing firms
- Landlords and letting agents
- 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.