Register to vote in elections

Privacy notice: electoral registration

Why we are collecting your data

The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) is a data controller and collects the personal data you provide for the purpose of registering your right to vote. You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible.

We have a duty to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year. We will only collect the personal data we need from you, in order to do this.

What is the legal basis for processing this data?

To comply with Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 (ERA13) and Representation of the People Regulations 2001 (RPR2001), electoral registration is carried out to ensure you can vote in any election, or referendum for which you are eligible. The ERA13 makes it compulsory for residents to provide information to an ERO for inclusion in the full register. We keep records about potential and actual electors, candidates and their agents, and staff employed at an election or during canvass. This information may be held in printed, data format or both.

These records may include:

  • your name, address, nationality and date of birth
  • unique identifiers (such as National Insurance Number). Signatures for absent vote checking
  • scanned application forms, documentary evidence, dates of any letters of correspondence.
  • notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
  • your previous or any redirected address
  • the other occupants in your home
  • if you are over 76 or 16/17
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register

To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IERDS) managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process, your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Cabinet Office's suppliers who are data processors for IERDS. Read the Cabinet Office's privacy policy (link opens in new window) for more about this.

Who will your information be shared with?

The information you provide is held in electoral registers which are managed by electoral registration officers who, using information received, keep two registers (link opens in new window) – the full electoral register and the open (edited) register.

The full register is published once a year and is updated every month and can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:

  • British Library
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • Electoral Commission
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • Elected Representatives (MP, MEPS, local councillors)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Candidates standing for elections
  • Local and National Political Parties
  • Us
  • Parish and Community councils
  • Police Forces, National Crime Agency
  • Public Library or local authority archive services
  • Government departments or bodies
  • Credit Reference Agencies
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • Electoral Registration and Returning Officers

We also have to disclose (share) your information with our software providers and contracted printers.

It is a crime for anyone who has a copy of the full register to pass information from this register on to others, if they do not have a lawful reason to see it.

Anyone can inspect the full printed copy of the electoral register.

  • inspection of the register will be under supervision
  • they can take extracts from the register, but only by hand written notes
  • information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open version
  • anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000

The open register contains the same information as the full register, but is not used for elections or referendums. It is updated and published every month and can be sold to any person, organisation or company for a wide range of purposes. It is used by businesses and charities for checking names and address details; users of the register include direct marketing firms and online directory firms.

When you register you are automatically added to the open version of the register unless you opt out (link opens in new window) on application. You can opt out at any time by contacting our Electoral Registration Officer. Removing your details from the open register will not affect your right to vote.

How long will we hold your data for?

The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.

Your rights

You are entitled to request a copy of any information about you that we hold. Any such requests must be made in writing.

If the information we hold about you is inaccurate you have a right to have this corrected and you have the right to request completion of incomplete data.

Being added to the electoral register is a requirement under the RPA1983. You do however, have the right to request the erasure of your personal data in certain circumstances (‘right to be forgotten’) such as phone and email details. However, retention of personal information such as a phone number or email address can help us to resolve potential problems especially during an election period.

You have the right to request that we stop, or restrict the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances. Where possible we will seek to comply with your request, but we may be required to hold or process information to comply with a legal requirement.

If you are dissatisfied with how we have used your personal information you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at casework@ico.org.uk.

Whether provision of data is part of a statutory or contractual requirement

We are required to keep a record of your personal data in order to comply with the ERA 2013, RPR 2001 and Electoral Registration (Disclosure of Electoral Registers) Regulations 2013.

Identity of Data Controller

Data Controller – Richard Carr

Contact details

Electoral registration team
Priory House
Monks Walk
Chicksands
Shefford
Bedfordshire
SG17 5TQ

Email: electoral.registration@centralbedfordshire.go.uk

Back to the top