The Electoral Register and your personal details
Every year, between September and October, a voter registration form is delivered to your home. By law, you must fill in this form so details of your name and address can be kept up to date on the electoral register.
Until 2002, anyone could buy a copy of the register to use for any purpose. But the law was changed to give you some choice about who can buy details of your name and address.
There are now two versions of the electoral register: the full version and the edited version. When you fill in your form, you can chose to ‘opt-out’ of the edited version, which anyone can buy.
The two versions of the electoral register
The full register lists the name and address of everyone who is registered to vote and is updated every month. You do not have a choice about your details being on this register. A copy is held at your local council (and electoral registration office in Scotland). Anyone can look at it, but copies can only be supplied for certain purposes.
The main use of the full register is to show who can vote in elections and referendums. Credit reference agencies can use it, but only to check your name and address if you are applying for credit. It can also be used for law enforcement.
The edited register is available for general sale and can be used for any purpose. You can choose not to be on the edited register, which is kept separate from the full register. The edited register can be bought by any person, company or organisation and can be used for commercial activities such as marketing.
If you tick the box on the voter registration form, your name and address will only appear on the full register, which is used for elections, referendums and certain other purposes.
If you do not tick the box on the voter registration form, your name and address will also appear on the edited version of the register, which anyone can buy. This means anyone can use your details for any purpose.
The person who fill sin and signs the registration form for your address must ask each person named on the form if they want their details on the edited register.
Make sure your choice is clear every year
There is the option to ask for your details to be PERMANENTLY removed from the Edited Register of Electors under Section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Under Section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998, a person can give notice that they do not want their personal information to be used for direct marketing. If you give notice under Section 11, the Electoral Registration Officer must ensure that your data is permanently removed from the Edited Register of Electors so that it is not available for purchase. If you give notice, the Electoral Registration Officer will record that you have made the permanent choice that you do not want to appear on the Edited Register now or in the future.
Completed forms should be returned to the Electoral Registration Officer, West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Williton TA4 4QA or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
To check that you are on the Register, telephone email@example.com
Three more things to remember about registering to vote
You must register every year. You are not automatically registered, even if you pay Council Tax.
If you move house, you can register at your new address at any time of the year.
If you’re living away from home, for example if you’re a student, you can register at more than one address (but you can only vote once in any single election).
Contact the Taunton Deane and West Somerset Shared Electoral Services Office
West Somerset House
Telephone: 01643 703704