By: Simon B
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Getting on the local electoral register
Once a year, the local authority updates and amends its electoral register in your county, the list of people who live within its political boundaries and who are eligible to vote within the UK. You’re usually sent a form so that you can provide details of all the people in your household who are eligible to vote, including anyone who turns 18 in the 12 months after the register is published. If you don’t fill in the form with the information asked for or give false information, you can be prosecuted and fined.
The new register is published on the first of December each year, and copies appear in the local council offices, libraries, and main post offices for the public to inspect. You can have your name added to the register at any time throughout the year – because you move to a new house, for example.
The electoral register comes in a full version and a short version. The full version gives all the details of everyone entitled to vote in each constituency, and that’s the one available for you to look at, as well as different political parties and some government agencies. Credit Reference Agencies can also access it. All sorts of organisations, including some commercial companies, can purchase the short version, and you have the right not to have your name included.
If you live abroad and want to carry on voting, you can apply to be registered each year in the constituency where you last had the right to vote. If you’re homeless, you can register to vote using the address of a place you spend a lot of your time, such as a hostel or drop-in centre. People who are in psychiatric hospitals can register by giving their usual address outside the hospital. People who have homes in more than one constituency may be able to register in both constituencies but can only vote in one. If your second home is a holiday home and you don’t spend much time in it, you may be refused the right to register in that constituency. If you’re a student, you can register at home and in the place where you’re at college or university.