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Electoral Services and Electoral Registration Officer Privacy Notice

When we use your personal information, City of York Council (CYC) complies with data protection legislation. The data controller for the information outlined in this privacy notice is the Electoral Services Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO) at the council

City Of York Council is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) - reference Z5809563.

The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) - reference Z624822X.

We keep this privacy notice under regular review, and it was last updated in June 2022.

View the privacy and transparency information for all of the City of York Council (CYC).

Why we collect and use your information

We use your personal information to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are responsible and to provide you with a statutory service in accordance with data protection law for the following purposes:

  • to undertake our statutory obligation to ensure that all eligible persons in City of York area are registered to vote and maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year
  • to assist residents in registering to vote
  • to enable all registered electors to participate as voters in elections or referendums
  • to enable eligible persons to stand as candidates in elections in accordance with statutory requirements
  • in order to deliver elections and referendums and fulfil their statutory responsibilities and employ individuals as election staff at polling stations, count and postal vote processes and for other specified duties in accordance with legal requirements and are then duly paid for carrying out their election/canvasser duties
  • to conduct an annual canvass of all household to establish all eligible persons who are entitled to be registered
  • to produce poll cards and postal ballot packs

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What information do we collect and use

To carry out the purposes above we collect and keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates, agents, and staff employed for registration, canvass and elections and booking contact details. These may be written down (manual records) or kept on a computer (electronic records). It will include:

  • your name, address, date of birth and nationality
  • unique identifiers such as your National Insurance Number
  • your signature for the purposes of verifying your absent vote if you have one in place
  • your previous address or details of your redirected address if provided
  • the other occupants at your property
  • scanned application forms and any documentary evidence provided
  • dates and copies of any letters of correspondence
  • your age category - If you are 16 or 17 years old, or over 76
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register
  • notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
  • if provided, your email address and contact telephone number(s)
  • evidence to confirm your identify, such as a copy of your passport, marriage certificate or driving licence
  • bank details for those employed at elections and canvass
  • car registration details for those employed at elections and canvass
  • previous employment data for those employed at elections and canvass
  • confirmation and proof of eligibility to work in the UK
  • statement regarding tax arrangements

There is certain personal information which is more sensitive such as nationality that is categorised under data protection legislation as special category data. This is because it may reveal a person’s race, ethnic origin or political opinions. We may also deal with special category data through documents received as part of the documentary exceptions process, anonymous registrations or staff information.

We ask that you:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible of any changes
  • tell us as soon as possible if you notice mistakes in the information we hold about you

For electoral services, all decisions made regarding electoral registration and candidates standing for election involve human intervention.

We do not use automated decision-making.

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To provide electoral services as set out in this privacy notice, we have a legal obligation to comply with legislation such as:

The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an Electoral Registration Officer for inclusion in the full register.

By law, a person who has received a Canvass Form must provide information required to the electoral registration officer. There is a criminal penalty of up to £1,000 for failing to provide the information to the electoral registration officer.

By law, a person who fails to return an Individual Electoral Registration (IER) form can be fined £80.

The lawful basis for employing individuals to work on elections/canvasses is to facilitate the process whereby the Returning Officer/Electoral Registration Officer fulfils their statutory duties as outlined in the laws above.

The lawful basis for processing special category data for electoral purposes is the performance of a public task (for example maintaining the electoral register and administering the election) that it is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest and with a basis in UK law.

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Sharing personal data

We may share your information with other authorities, partner organisations or people, but only for purposes set out in legislation.

Examples of this are candidates, political parties, staff payments and credit reference agencies.

We are required by law to provide copies of the Full Register which is published once a year and is updated every month to certain organisation and individuals. They may use it for their own reasons which are different to ours but they still have to look after the data contained in the register in the same way we do. 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.

The organisations and individuals have restriction notices set out in law on what they can and cannot use the Full Register data for. See Electoral Commission - The Electoral Register.

In accordance with law, the Full Register has to be made available for public inspection and we do this by making it available to inspect at public libraries and by appointment at West Offices. Please contact Electoral Services on email: if you want to make an appointment.

  • inspection is done under supervision
  • people who inspect the register can make handwritten notes but cannot take copies or photographs of the register
  • information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the Open Register. The open version of the register is also available for inspection

Anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000

We are required by law to provide copies of the Marked Register, which details whether you have voted (but not how you have voted) to those who are entitled in law to receive it after an election.

We are required to supply where the health and safety of others is at risk, also when the law required us to pass on information under special circumstances, and for crime prevention or the detection of fraud as part of the National Fraud Initiative.

We are required by law to provide copies of the Open Register which is published every month and can be sold to any person, organisation or company who requests it. They may use it for their own reasons that are different to ours but they must look after your data in the same way that we do.

If you have opted to be included in the Open Register, by law your register information can be shared with anyone who requests it. You can choose whether or not to have your personal details included in the Open register.

However, they will be included unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the Open Register will not affect your right to vote.

The Open Register does not contain your telephone number and/or email address.

The process of checking citizens' personal identifiers to ensure eligibility for inclusion in the Electoral Register is controlled by the Cabinet Office via the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IERDS). During the annual canvass the process of matching register data is controlled by the Cabinet Office. This includes:

Subject to strict agreements describing how it will be used, your information may also be shared with:

  • our software provider (Democracy Counts) - the electoral management software (EMS) supplier. The EMS supplier provides an online polling station staff training programme. The supplier requires polling station staff's names and email addresses. Staff's personal details are held in the electoral management database. The software supplier may be able to access these records when assisting with technical support calls in relation to the administration of the database
  • printers - process your information to produce election and registration information, but only on our instructions, for example poll cards, postal packs and forms
  • contractor - process information to deliver election material, but only on our instructions, for example delivery of poll cards, polling booths to polling stations
  • police - for certain electoral events, the police may need to perform background checks on the individuals we have employed to work at an election for security purposes

We will not normally share your information with organisations other than our partner organisations without your consent. However, there may be certain circumstances where we would share without consent such as where we are required to do so by law, for example:

  • where a formal court order has been issued
  • to law enforcement agencies for the prevention or detection of crime
  • to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau indicating those persons who are aged 76 or over and are no longer eligible for jury service
  • inspection of nomination papers and this includes all the forms required for nomination by certain people at certain times as per legislation for each type of election
  • inspection of other election documentation where the request has been made in writing as per legislation for each type of election
  • election documentation made available to police and security organisations that is open to public inspection
  • documents on deposit for public inspection, for example a request to call an election

We will only share the minimum information for the purpose, on a need-to-know basis and with appropriate individuals. Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential and safe.

We may also include anonymised information in presentations, statistics and reports that may be shared with the general public and other organisations.

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Retaining personal data

For Electoral registration:

We will keep any documents that contain your personal information (for example canvass forms and ITR forms) for only as long as it takes for your registration application to be determined following which we securely dispose of the documents.

We keep electronic information about persons on the electoral register for only as long as they remain registered, following which the information will be deleted.

The electoral registration officer and returning officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections.

Staffs’ personal details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods or for as long as the individual consents to their details being retained for the recruitment to staffing positions.

For candidates standing for election:

We are required by law (Principal Area Rules 2006) to retain candidate nomination papers for candidates standing in elections for no longer than 12 months after the election, following which the documents are securely destroyed.

Home address forms provided by candidates standing are retained for a period of 21 days after the return of the legal writ for a General Election and for 35 days after the result has been declared for local elections, following which they are securely disposed of. However, if an election petition relating to the election is presented within the 21 calendar days, the home address forms must be kept securely until the conclusion of the petition proceedings (including any appeal from such proceedings). They must then be securely destroyed on the next working day following the conclusion of the proceedings or appeal.

We are required by law to retain candidate election expenses documents for a period of no more than 2 years from the date on which the expenses are received. At the end of the 2 year period, the respective candidate can request the return of the expenses documents. Otherwise, the expenses documents will be securely disposed of.

Where required or appropriate to, at the end of the retention period, we will pass onto the City Archives any relevant information

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Further processing of personal data

If we wish to use your personal data for a new purpose, not covered by this Privacy Notice, then we will provide you with a new notice explaining this new use prior to commencing the processing and setting out the relevant purposes and processing conditions. Where and whenever necessary, we will seek your prior consent to the new processing, if we start to use your personal data for a purpose not mentioned in this Privacy Notice.

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Your rights

To find out about your rights under data protection law, you can go to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website.

See further information about your rights relating to your personal data.

If you have any questions about this privacy notice, want to exercise your rights, or if you have a complaint about how your information has been used, please contact us on email: or on telephone: 01904 554145, or write to:

Data Protection Officer
City of York Council
West Offices
Station Rise

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Also see

Data Protection Officer

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 554145