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Electoral Roll Uk - Electoral Roll in the United Kingdom

History, Structure, and Uses of the UK Electoral Roll

registration register citizens vote

Although in the early 18th century, voting rights in the United Kingdom were very limited, a gradual expansion of voters’ rights through the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867, and 1884 brought the right to vote to a large percentage of the male population. With the Representation of the People Act of 1918, the right to vote expanded to include nearly all men and a very high percentage of women. Through gradual increases, nearly all of the rest of the population received the right to vote by 1928.
Along with this rapid expansion in the number of voters, the system by which voters were registered was rapidly expanded, requiring much more organization for the electoral roll.

Prior to 2001, a voting register was published in each district on on November 28 for those who registered before October 10, with a revised version being produced on February 15. However, since 2001, the revision is published on December 1 and new names can be added every month between January and September of the following year. The electoral roll is organized by the office in each polling district, and is not currently centralized. Therefore, its use is limited to verifying the citizens in each district. Moreover, a citizen must register with their local electoral office when he or she moves to a new area.

Currently two versions of the register are published. First, a full version is published that includes all registers citizens and their relevant data and is used to verify identities of voters, to avoid election fraud, and for credit checks. An edited register is also published and available for sale for marketing and other uses. However, citizens may elect not to appear on the edited register.

For those who reside in the UK, registration on the electoral roll is quite easy. Every year, all households in the United Kingdom receive an electoral registration form as part of the “annual canvass.” On this form, which is distributed in August or September each year, the members of the household must record those who are of legal voting age (18) and return it to their local electoral registration office. Failure to submit this form could result in a fine up to £1,000. Those who have not yet reached legal voting age are permitted to register, but are not allowed to vote until after turning 18. Those who have not received a registration form can download one online here.

Crown servants and British Council employees living overseas can find information about registration here and members of the British Armed Services here.

Other British citizens who reside outside of the UK can find further information about registering to vote here. For 15 years after living in the UK, citizens living overseas may continue to submit a registration form.

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