The Two Registers

There are two versions of the register, the electoral register and the open register

The Electoral Register

The Electoral Register lists the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote in public elections. It’s used for the following reasons: 

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and elected office holders for election purposes.
  • Local councils and the British Library. They have copies which anyone can look at with supervision.
  • The European Commission, the Boundary Commissions and the Office for National Statistics have copies.
  • We use it to help with security, enforcing the law and preventing crime.
  • The police and security services can use it for law enforcement.
  • The Register is used when calling people for jury service.
  • Government departments can buy the Register from local registration officers to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to protect national security by checking working people’s backgrounds.
  • Credit reference agencies can buy the register to help organisations 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.

If the Register is used or supplied for other reasons, this is against the law.

The Open Register

The Open Register is a part of the Electoral Register that isn’t used for elections. It lists the names and addresses of everyone who can vote in public elections. Anybody can buy a copy of it.

You can ask for your name and address to be removed from the Open Register. This won’t affect your right to vote.

The Open Register is used for the following reasons: 

  • Businesses can check 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.
  • Businesses who sell age-restricted foods or services, such as alcohol and gambling, to see if their customers are old enough.
  • Charities and voluntary agencies can keep in touch with people donating bone marrow and to help siblings separated by adoption to find each other.
  • Charities can keep in touch with their donators.
  • Debt collection can trace people who have moved without telling their creditors.
  • Direct marketing firms can keep their mailing lists up-to-date.
  • Landlords and letting agents can look up potential tenants.
  • Local councils can look up and contact residents.
  • Online directory firms can help web-users to find their friends and families.
  • Organisations can look up pension and insurance policy inheritors.
  • Private sector firms to can look up their job applicant’s details.

Find out more about how Credit Agencies use the Register of Electors.