Voters List and Registering to Vote
- Register of Electors
- How to Register
- Young Voters
- Living Abroad
- Service Voter Registration
- Registering to Vote if you have two homes
- The Electoral Register and the Open Register
Register of Electors
The register of electors is a list of all those residents in the District who are entitled to vote. You can only vote in elections if your name is listed on the current register.
It also contains a list of overseas voters whose last registration to vote was at an address within Richmondshire District Council, service personnel who have registered under a service declaration and can include the names of homeless persons if they can claim some local connection.
The register is also used by many organisations to check your identity. Not being registered at your current address can affect your credit rating, and could prevent you from:
- opening a bank account
- getting a mobile phone contract
- buying a house
- receiving a student grant
The Government uses the register of electors to decide how much money it gives us to pay for services, so not being on the register of electors could make your Council tax bill more expensive!
It is a legal requirement to have your name included on the register and you are not automatically registered, even if you do pay Council tax. Electoral Services do not have access to Council Tax or Housing Benefit records and residents need to notify Electoral Service of any changes to ensure that you do not lose your right to vote.
You must complete and update a Household Enquiry form (HEF) each year.
You can register to vote if you are:
- normally resident in the Richmondshire area
- over 16 (although you cannot vote until your 18th birthday)
- a British or Commonwealth Citizen
- a Citizen of the Irish Republic or of another European Union Member State
Applications to Register to Vote must be received by:
|If we get your application before:||Your details will be changed on (subject to your details been verified):|
|10 March||3 April|
|6 April||2 May|
|10 May||1 June|
|9 June||3 July|
|10 July||1 August|
|10 August||1 September|
The last date to apply to register to vote for the County Council Elections is 13 April 2017
Individual Electoral Registration
Individual Electoral Registration (IER) was introduced in England and Wales in June 2014. It is a new method of registering to vote.
Instead of using a household form to register to vote, everyone takes individual responsibility for their own registration. In order to apply, a person needs to provide their National Insurance Number and date of birth.
This will reduce the risk of fraud and inaccurate entries on the electoral register.
As part of the transfer to IER, many people who are currently registered to vote will be registered automatically. A privacy impact assessment has been undertaken to assess the privacy risks to individuals as part of the collection, use and disclosure of information.
How to Register
You can register on the GOV.UK website (external link). You will need your national insurance number to hand.
You can download the forms to fill in and send if you prefer (external link)
To check if you are eligible to register to vote please refer to the list of eligible nationalities below.
Each year, normally at the end of July/August, Electoral Services send out canvass forms, householder enquiry forms (HEFs) to all of the households in the District asking them to register all eligible electors and any 16 or 17 year olds who will become 18 during the life of the next year's register of electors.
The Annual Household Enquiry Form will be delivered to all households in the District.
Even if you are already registered as a voter at your property you will still need to respond to the canvass form in order that your registration continues for another year. Do not assume that because you were registered last year that your name will automatically be included in the new register.
The law states that you must respond to the annual canvass form request each year, although whether you choose to use your right to vote or not is your choice. If you do not respond to the annual canvass form or give false information the Council may issue legal proceedings and you could be liable to a fine of up to £1,000.
Telephone and Internet
During the annual canvass period to help lower the cost of producing the register of electors, you are able to confirm your details by using either the telephone or internet. You are not, however, able to add or delete names from the register using the telephone service.
To add names to the register you can using the website link above or alternatively return the canvass form. Names can only be deleted by returning the canvass form in the pre-paid envelope.
Please note the telephone service is not available outside of the annual canvass period.
Outside of the Annual Canvass period if anyone moves into the District or moves properties within the District there is a facility where they can have their name(s) added to the register using the website link above.
Regulations provide for the Register of Electors to be updated on the first working day of each month. However, there is a deadline each month for the receipt of applications for inclusion in the update due to be effected the following month. The table above lists the deadline dates.
As soon as you are 18 you may vote - Don't lost your vote
Each year almost a quarter of young people who should be included on the voters' list (Register of Electors) for the first time are omitted. This means that they can't vote when there is an election.
Why should I vote?
This country is a democracy. Every day, vital decisions affecting all our lives, are made by Members of Parliament and local councillors who are elected by the people. You can help choose them. Make sure you have your say - use your right to vote. If you don't, you will lose your chance to influence the way things are run in the country, or your part of it. All votes are equal - your vote is as important.
You can register to vote in Richmondshire as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after leaving the UK, as long as:
- you're a British citizen
- you were registered to vote in the UK within the previous 15 years and a qualifying address within Richmondshire (or, in some cases, if you were too young to have registered when you left the UK)
To register just follow the link above and register in the normal way.
Service Voter Registration
You can register to vote as a Service Voter (or as a spouse of a Service Voter) via the links above.
Registering to vote if you have two homes
The main qualification to vote (apart from nationality and age) is residence at an address on the relevant date. This is either 15 October during the annual registration audit, or the date a registration is completed during the rest of the year.
The definition of resident is not out in detail in electoral law, but is has been guided by decisions made over the years by the courts.
The Voters List (Register of Electors) is not like the national Census held every 10 years, which is based on where people are on a particular day. The Electoral Registration Officer can look backwards and forwards from 15 October to decide if someone is resident, for electoral purposes. You do not have to be physically present at an address on the date of registration to register there.
Unlike Council Tax, you do not have to choose which is your main residence for electoral purposes.
The courts have decided that a person can be resident at more than one address.
However, a person's residence must have "a considerable degree of performance". For instance, some who has an address in London where they stay during the week, and an address "in the country" where they go most weekends, can register at both those addresses. On the other hand, if someone has an address which they only visit occasionally during the year, they would probably not be eligible to register there.
Each individual case is different, and you may wish to speak to the Electoral Team for more guidance.
Convenience or "care of" address
We do hear cases where people register at, say, their parental home (although they do not live there) because they move address quite frequently. This is wrong, people should register where they actually live. You may wish to speak to the Electoral Team for more guidance.
The courts have specifically decided that students can register at both their home and term-time addresses. You may wish to speak to the Electoral Team for more guidance.
Although people can register at more than one address, it is illegal to vote more than once at the same election, such as a General Election.
The Electoral Register and the Open Register - Why are there two registers?
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 - 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 (such as fraud)
- calling people for jury service
- checking credit applications
The Electoral Register is available for inspection under supervision at Mercury House, Station Road Richmond by appointment only. Anyone can look at the Electoral Register, but it is a criminal offence to supply or use copies for purposes other than those set down in law.
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.
A copy of the Open Register is available for inspection at the Community Offices, in Colburn, Hawes, Leyburn and Reeth and in reception at Mercury House.
Your Personal Information - We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes. We will look after personal information securely and we will follow the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not give personal information about you and the other people in your household to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.
The choice you have to make
If you do put an 'X' in the opt-out box on the voter registration form, your name and address will only appear on the Electoral Register, which will only be used for the lawful purposes listed above.
If you do not put an 'X' in the box on the voter registration form, your name will also appear on the Open version of the register, which anyone can buy. This means anyone can use your details for any purpose.
The electoral register can be inspected by anyone, under supervision. This is regarded as an important safeguard against potential abuse of the electoral system. To arrange to view the Electoral Register, please make an appointment.