Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to register to vote?
You must be aged 16 or over.
You must also be one of the following:
- a British citizen
- an Irish or EU citizen living in the UK
- a Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
If you are not sure whether your nationality is eligible, please visit the Electoral Commission website to check: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/register-vote-and-update-your-details#commonwealth
I have changed my address within the UK, what do I need to go?
You need to register to vote each time that you move.
I have changed my nationality and I am now eligible to vote. What do I do?
You will need to re-register on https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to update your change of nationality.
Which elections or referenda am I eligible to vote in?
Details for which elections or referenda you are eligible to vote in can be found at https://www.gov.uk/elections-in-the-uk
How can I vote on polling day?
Depending on your circumstances and where you are registered, there are three ways to cast your vote. They are:
- In person: This means going to the polling station to vote on polling day.
- By post: This means your council will send you a postal voting pack so you can complete your ballot paper at home and return it in the post
- By proxy: This is when you are unable to go to the polling station yourself so you ask a trusted person to vote on your behalf
Can I send completed application forms and copies of evidence digitally?
Yes, completed application forms can be emailed to ourselves at email@example.com. To ensure your application is processed correctly, please send just one application form per file (i.e. scan each form separately). We only need the application part of the form, we do not need the information sheet or covering letter.
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 online as an overseas elector using 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.
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.
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. For further information regarding registering as a service voter, you can contact your Unit’s Electoral Registration Officer and find further information regarding service voter registration at Your Vote Matters.
I have no fixed address or am homeless
You can still register to vote even if you do not have a fixed address. This may be because you are:
- a patient in a mental health hospital
- a merchant seaman
- part of the gypsy or travelling community
- living on a boat or other movable residence
- a person remanded in custody (but not a convicted prisoner)
If you are staying at an address for an extended length of time then you can be considered as residing there and can register at that address. This could be a hospital, hostel, permanent mooring or similar place.
If you don’t have a permanent address, you can register at an address where you spend a lot of your time or have some connection. This could be a previous permanent address, shelter or similar place.
How do I view the Register?
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.
- 12 December 2022: 3 January 2023
- 10 January 2023: 1 February 2023
- 7 February 2023: 1 March 2023
- 10 March 2023: 3April 2023
- 6 April 2023: 2 May 2023
- 10 May 2023: 1 June 2023
- 9 June 2023: 1 July 2023
- 10 July 2023: 1 August 2023
- 10 August 2023: 1 September 2023
For parish clerks: I need some guidance on holding a Parish Poll, do you have anything available?
Please see our informal guidance document available here – South and Vale Parish Poll Guidance.