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Register of Electors

What is the Electoral Register?

The Register of Electors lists everyone who is entitled to vote.  You can only vote in elections if your name is included in the Register.

The Electoral Registration Officer compiles and keeps two versions of the Register - the Full Register and the Open Register.

It is compiled between August and November each year with the new Register coming into force on December 1 and remaining in force until November 30 the following year.

To be included in the Register you must be:

  • resident at an address in Copeland for more than six months of the year, i.e. as a permanent resident
  • over 16 (although you cannot vote until your 18th birthday)
  • a British, Commonwealth or Irish Republic citizen
  • a citizen of a member state of the European Union (as such you can only vote in local elections and, upon application, European Parliamentary Elections)

Students living away from home during term time can register at both places but must only vote once at the same election.

Rolling registration

The Register is also updated monthly so if your name has been missed off the Register, or if you move during the year, you can apply to be registered at any time. This is called rolling registration.

Applications to be registered as an elector under the rolling registration process are subject to public inspection to allow any objections to be made.  At the end of this public inspection period, and if no objection is received, the applicant may be added to the Register of Electors on the first working day of the following month, depending on the date the application was received.

Please remember that paying Council Tax does not mean that you are automatically included on the Register of Electors.  You must register separately to be able to vote.

If you move house after the annual canvass, or during the year, you can change your registration.

Telling Council Tax or other council departments that you have moved will not change your entry on the Register of Electors.

There are two versions of the Register

The Register of Electors 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 (eg fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.

Anyone can look at it, but copies can only be supplied to certain people and organisations and only for specified purposes. These include electoral purposes, the prevention and detection of crime, and checking a person's identity when applying for credit.

The law states who can have a copy of this Register and what it can be used for.  The full list of persons and purposes is given in the Representation of the People (England and Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2002. It is a criminal offence for them to pass it on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose.

What is the Open (Edited) Register?

The Open Register was previously known as the Edited 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 may be 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.

Please email elections@copeland.gov.uk to request removal of your details from the Open Register, giving your name, address and contact details.

You will receive an acknowledgement letter in due course. Your opt out choice will remain in force until you either move house, when you will need to re-register and provide your opt out choice once again, or until you decide that you would like your details included in the Open Register (ie opting back in).