Register to vote
Everyone is responsible for registering themselves and by law you must register to vote or you could be fined.
- you will need your National Insurance number and date of birth; these are used to check your identity with the Department of Works and Pension
- once we have had checked your details, you will either receive a letter from us requesting more information or a letter to confirm that you are registered. Submitting an application does not automatically mean you will be registered, several checks must be made
- you can only vote in Parliamentary and City of York Council elections if your name is on the register of electors
- if you are not on the register of electors you may find it harder to get a loan, mortgage, finance agreement or even a mobile phone as certain credit reference agencies use the register to confirm stability of residence
Who can register?
You can only register to vote with us if you are:
- 18 (or will become 18 during the life of the register)
- a British, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union Member State citizen (a full list of all eligible countries provided)
- resident at a York address
Students registering to vote
Students can register to vote both at their home address and where they are at college, their term time address.
Updates to the register of electors
The register of electors is only published once each year, there are updates to the register generally the first of every month, except during October and November.
There are strict statutory deadlines which mean that you can only be added to the register if we receive your application by the required time, and we have all the information need to process it.
Your choices and privacy
There are two versions of the register of electors:
- the full register
- the open register (previously known as the edited register)
The full register
The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote in elections. It can only be viewed on request and by appointment. By law, the full register is only available to certain people and organisations and can only be used for specified purposes. These include electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime and checking identities for credit applications. It is a criminal offence for this register to be used for any other purpose. Anyone inspecting the full register may only make a hand written copy of the extract they are inspecting.
The open register
A copy of the open register can be bought by anyone, and they may use it for any purpose, including marketing.
Opting out of the open register
You can choose to have your name and address removed from the open register meaning your details can not be used for marketing purposes. Simply tick the form to indicate that your name should be excluded from the open register.
You can also opt out of the open register by making a 'declaration' to the Electoral Registration Officer (the data controller) that you do not want your personal data to be used for the purposes of direct marketing, accordance with section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998*.
Your declaration can be made:
- by email and you must make it clear that you wish to make the declaration to opt out under section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and include your full name and full address
- by telephone, stating your name and address and wish to declaration to opt out under section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998
- by post and you must state that you wish to make the declaration to opt out under section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and include your full name and full address.
*Under section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998, an individual is entitled to prevent the processing of their personal data for the purpose of direct marketing. 'Direct marketing' is defined in the Act as meaning the communication (by whatever means) of any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals. In relation to this provision, 'personal data' means any information which relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data or from any other information which is in the procession of, or likely to come into the possession of, the data controller (the Electoral Registration Officer of the City of York Council).
Credit reference agencies
The register of electors is produced for the purpose of voting in elections and referendums. The law allows only legally registered credit reference agencies to purchase a copy of the register to help with fraud checking.
These credit reference agencies cannot pass on your details if you have opted out of the open register.
Our 'Electoral Services' team cannot assist with any errors that credit reference agencies hold on their records, including incorrect address details or registration history; we can only assist in registering to vote.
Written or verbal confirmation cannot be provided to those organisations (including credit reference agencies) who have already received a copy of register that they are legally entitled to receive, or to other organisations that are not permitted access to a copy of the full version of the register of electors.