Elections privacy notice

How we use your data

The electoral registration officer is a data controller and collects the personal data you provide for the purpose of registering your right to vote. You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. We have a duty to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year. We will only collect the personal data we need from you, in order to do this.

We do this as a legal obligation to comply with the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 and Representation of the People Regulations 2001. This ensures you are registered to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an electoral registration officer for inclusion in the full register.

We keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates and their agents, staff employed at an elections. These records may be written, held as an electronic record on a computer system or as a printed record from a computer system. All physical records are stored securely in an office accessible to certain people. Digital records can only be accessed by certain people as required by legislation. Certain staff members may be given ‘read only’ access in order to view specific information. All computer systems are protected by passwords and information is backed up on to our secure servers.

These records can include:

  • your name, address nationality and date of birth
  • contact information such as email address and telephone number (if you have chosen to provide this for us)
  • unique identifiers (such as National Insurance Number). Signatures for absent vote checking
  • scanned application forms, dates of any letters of correspondence
  • documentary evidence, for example including but not limited to copies of a passport, driving license, marriage certificate, deed poll, utility bill or any such document we have requested you to provide as evidence of identity to support your registration application where applicable
  • photographs included with voter authority certificate applications
  • notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
  • our previous or any redirected address
  • the other occupants in your home
  • if you are over 76 or under 16/17
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register

This information must be supplied to maintain the electoral register and for the purpose of administering an election.

The information you provide is held in electoral registers which are managed by electoral registration officers who, using information received, keep two registers – the full electoral register and the open (edited) register.

The full register is published once a year and is updated every month and can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:

  • British Library
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • Electoral Commission
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • elected representatives (MP, MEPs, local councillors)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • candidates standing for elections
  • the council
  • parish and community councils
  • police forces, National Crime Agency
  • public library or local authority archive services
  • government departments or bodies
  • credit reference agencies
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • electoral registration and returning officers

We also have to share your information with our software providers and contracted printers. Both software providers and contracted printers will only use your information on our instruction and not for any other purposes. They are also required to protect your information in the same way that we would.

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.

Anyone can inspect the full electoral register.

  • inspection of the register will be under supervision
  • they can take extracts from the register, but only by hand written notes
  • information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open version
  • anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000

The open register contains the same information as the full register, but is not used for elections or referendums. It is updated and published every month and can be sold to any person, organisation or company for a wide range of purposes. It is used by businesses and charities for checking names and address details; users of the register include direct marketing firms and also online directory firms.

You can choose whether or not to have your personal details included in the open version of the 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 Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.

The information is stored on the electoral management system, supplied by eXpress. It will not be used to make automated decisions about you and this data will not be transferred abroad.

To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office.

As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the individual electoral registration digital service.

Any documents provided containing personal information will only be kept for the time period in which it takes for your registration application to be determined following which copies will be securely destroyed. We do not recommend that original documents are provided but we will post back the original document to the named individual once the determination period has passed. Electronic information is retained on Electoral Management Software for as long as an elector is registered. Following this, such information is deleted. All other personal information is stored in line with our legal obligations and statutory retention periods.