Registering to vote frequently asked questions

How do I change my name on the Register of Electors?

Complete our change of name online form

How do I opt out from having my name included in the Open Register?

The Open Register is an extract of the full Register of Electors. In accordance with legislation, we must sell the Open Register to any person/organisation who requests it. The full Register of Electors cannot be purchased by individuals/organisations. 

Opt-out of the open register

Am I eligible to be on the Register of Electors? 

To be eligible to register in Salford you must: 

  • Be 18 years old or over (we also register 16/17 year olds but they are unable to vote until age 18)
  • Live in the city of Salford
  • Be a British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen (a list of eligible nationalities is at the bottom of the page) 

You are not eligible to vote if you are: 

  • A long stay patient in a psychiatric hospital
  • A convicted prisoner (but not a prisoner on remand)

Who can inspect and purchase the Register of Electors?

Using information received from the public, electoral registration officers keep two versions of the register:

The electoral register, and

The open 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 and for other limited purposes specified in law. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data protection legislation. 

The following use the Register of Electors:

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes
  • The council holds copies of the current register that anyone may look at under supervision.
  • The Salford Local History Library holds historic copies of the Register of Electors (over 15 years old)
  • The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement
  • The register is used when calling people for jury service
  • Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees
  • Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering

It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.

The open register is an extract of the electoral register but it 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. The personal data in the register must always be removed. Removing your details from the open register would not affect your right to vote.

Users of the open register include:

  • Businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online
  • Businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers
  • Charities and voluntary agencies, for example, to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other
  • Charities to help with fundraising and contact people who have made donations
  • Debt collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors
  • Landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants
  • Local councils when identifying and contacting residents
  • Online directory firms to help users of the website find people, such as when reuniting friends and families
  • Organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies
  • Private sector firms to verify details of job applicants

Can I vote if I live overseas?

Anyone who is living overseas/abroad is entitled to vote in the UK for a period of 15 years after they were last registered in an electoral register. If you have never been registered as an elector in the UK, you will not be eligible to register as an overseas elector. However, if you have left the UK before you were 18 years of age you can register at your parents or guardians address, providing that you left the country no more than 15 years ago.

The easiest way for you to register to vote is do it online.

Register to vote online form

Overseas electors may either appoint a person to vote on their behalf at a polling station (voting by proxy) or themselves (vote by post). If a postal vote is chosen, the applicant should bear in mind the length of time taken for post to travel in either direction, because the ballot paper is only issued one to two weeks before polling day. If you are registered as an overseas elector, you will only be allowed to vote in parliamentary elections and European parliamentary elections. You will not be able to vote in local elections.

Complete the proxy vote form on the GOV.UK website

Apply for a postal vote on the About my Vote website

I am a student studying away from home. Where do I need to register?

As a student studying away from home, you are able to register to vote at both your home and your term time addresses. You are able to vote in Local Government elections at both addresses as they are separate elections but you can only vote once in national elections eg Parliamentary (General) elections.

Register to vote online form

I have no fixed address, can I register?

If you have no fixed address you can still register to vote. You need to make something called a ‘declaration of local connection' to show that you are connected to and spend time at a particular place. You can normally do this only for one place.

Declaration of local connection online form

I am a member of the armed forces. How can I register?

Members of the armed forces may register to vote at their home address just as a normal civilian elector or as a service voter.

Register to vote online form

Service electors may either appoint a person to vote on their behalf at a polling station (voting by proxy) or themselves (vote by post). If a postal vote is chosen, you should bear in mind the length of time taken for post to travel in either direction, because the ballot paper is only issued one to two weeks before polling day.

Complete the proxy vote form on the GOV.UK website

Apply for a postal vote on the About my Vote website

Can I register anonymously?

Anonymous registration is available if your safety or that of any other person in the same household would be at risk if your name or address were made public. You must provide court documents or an attestation, eg from a senior police officer or director of social services, in support of the application.

Complete an anonymous registration form on the GOV.UK website

When will my name appear on the Register of Electors?

We publish updates to the register every month, except when we are undertaking our annual registration process. There is a set date in each month when applications to register have to be submitted in order to get on the register published that month. The sooner you apply to register, then the sooner we can get your name on the register.

You should be aware that in the run up to an election, you will only be able to vote at that election if your name has been added to the register of electors by no later than 12 working days prior to the election date.

Downloadable documents

If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.

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