Elections - Frequently Asked Questions

I have changed my address within the UK, what do I need to do?

You need to register to vote each time that you move. 

How do I apply for a postal vote?

To find out how to apply please visting our voting by post page.

My address is not recognised on the registration website.  How can I register?

If you have moved into a new build property, then your address may not be on the registration website. If you let us know the new address and who needs to register, then we can send you each out a paper registration form, as well as notifying the online service to add your street to the website.

I have changed my nationality and I am now eligible to vote. What do I do?

You will need to re-register and can do this online using the register to vote website.

I do not live at a permanent address in the UK.  How do I register?

This depends on your circumstances.  Please see below for the different options when registering to vote.

I live overseas

If you spend more than six months of the year abroad, then you should register as an overseas elector. You can do this online at the register to vote website.

You can choose to vote by either post or proxy. We advise overseas electors to choose a proxy vote as there can be a short time between the ballot papers being sent out and them needing to be returned in time to be counted. This is because the nominations must be finalised before ballot papers can be printed.

You can find further information regarding overseas registration at Your Vote Matters.

I am in the armed forces

You can register as a service voter if you are a member of the armed forces, or the spouse or civil partner of someone in the armed forces.

You have the choice whether to register as a service elector or ordinary elector. For further information regarding registering as a service voter, you can contact your Unit’s Electoral Registration Officer. You can also find information on Your Vote Matters.

The two choices depend on your own circumstances and do extend to service spouses or civil partners. By registering as a service voter you can remain registered at a fixed address for five years. Whereas registering as an ordinary elector will mean that you will need to register each time that you move.

You can vote at your polling station, by post or by proxy and you will need to decide which is the best option for you.

I have no fixed abode or am homeless

If you have no fixed address you can still register to vote under a local connection. Please download an application form GOV.UK This link will take you to an external website... or contact our Elections office to ask for one to be sent to you.

I am a student at university

Students at university are able to register at their parent’s home as well as their university address.  However, they are not allowed to vote twice in any election.

I am 16 do I need to register?

Yes, by registering at 16, young people are able to vote as soon as they turn 18. They can register online or request a registration form in the post.

What about mental capacity?

If someone has a learning disability or mental health condition, including Alzheimers or dementia, they still have the right to vote and therefore should be registered. This includes those who live in Care Homes. You can help someone to register to vote by typing for them online or filling in a paper form on their behalf, with their permission.

The most important thing to remember is that a person has the right to vote and to make up their own mind about how they do that.  

A person can choose who they want to vote for by any criteria they like. It is not up to anyone else to judge if their reasons for choosing someone are valid or not. Equally, the decision over whether someone votes or not must be theirs and theirs alone. Carers, support workers and those with power of attorney for someone are not allowed to make decisions on behalf of the person they care for when it comes to voting.

Please also remember that anyone can vote by post or proxy.  Once the appropriate application has been completed, however, you cannot fill in a ballot paper for someone else unless you are their appointed proxy.  Being their paid or unpaid carer, or having power of attorney, does not entitle you to vote on someone’s behalf.

Where can I view the Electoral Register?

The current full electoral register is available to be viewed at our offices on Milton Park. There are no available copies in libraries or online.

Please note:

  • the register is printed and not available in an electronic format either in our offices or online.
  • the register is printed in street order and, therefore, you cannot search for a person by name.

How do I view the Register?

The Register can be viewed at our offices between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Fridays.  Please call the elections team on 07717 346439 to request to view the Register and make an appointment – you will be asked whether you wish to view the open or the full register and we will make an appointment for you.

Viewing of the full register is required by law to be under supervision and so for that purpose we offer 15 minute slots, and we can offer up to four slots per person, per day.  You will be asked to complete a register viewing request form on arrival.

Viewing of the open register does not require supervision and appointments can be unlimited in length however we do need advance notification to arrange for the necessary open register to be prepared. 

If you call into the offices without an appointment, it may not be convenient for a member of the team to see you.

Regulations in respect of viewing the Register of Electors

 In accordance with the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (as amended): 

  • The Register of Electors is open to public inspection under supervision and contains the names of all those registered to vote in a certain area.
  • Information from the Register may be recorded only by making minimal hand written notes. Photocopying or electronic recording are not permitted by law.
  • Information taken from the Register must not be used for direct marketing purposes (as per Section 11(3) of the Data Protection Act 1998), unless the information has also been published in the Open version of the Register of Electors
  • Under the Regulations referred to above, anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence. The penalty is a fine of up to level 5 (£5000 as of 2010).

Can I view older versions of the Register?

We only hold the current version of the Register. If you would like to view historical copies then please contact the Oxfordshire History Centre

When do you update Credit agencies?

Credit Agencies are updated at the beginning of each month, except during canvass from September – 1 December. Please be aware that this process is subject to strict deadlines, including the date your application is received by Electoral Services and its successful verification under the IER process. The table below shows the deadlines for a successful application and the subsequent Register update.

Applications deadline

Month added to register

11 December 2019

January 2020

10 January 2020

February 2020

7 February 2020

March 2020

10 March 2020

April 2020

7 April 2020

May 2020

7 May 2020

June 2020

9 June 2020

July 2020

10 July 2020

August 2020

10 August 2020

September 2020

Last reviewed: 24 - 03 - 2020

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