2019 General Election - Register to Vote

With the UK Parliamentary General Election now called for 12 December 2019, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party is urging anyone not yet registered to vote to do so, and to arrange a postal vote if needed.

The most useful information is at https://www.saa.gov.uk/h-wi-vjb/the-electoral-register/ and the key points are:

You can now register online

  • Everyone is responsible for registering themselves. (Under the old system the head of every household could register everyone who lived at their address).
  • You need to provide a few more details to register including your national insurance number and date of birth. This makes the electoral register more secure.

Do not delay - Please register as quickly as possible to ensure that your application is accepted and that you get your vote in time for 12 December.

How to register

Go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

  1. Fill in your name, address, date of birth and a few other details.
    You’ll also need your national insurance number, which can be found on your national insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips, or letters about benefits or tax credits.

  2. Look out for a confirmation to say you are registered.

You can also find advice there on making an application on paper if that is your preferred option.

If you want or need information about the Highland Council electoral registration officer or processes, you can find this at https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/20001/the_highland_and_western_isles_valuation_joint_board/507/the_electoral_register

Electoral Registration Officer

Moray House
16-18 Bank Street

Telephone: 0800 393783

Email: ero@highland.gov.uk



The following is taken from the SAA website and reproduced here for ease of reference.

How to vote

If you are on the electoral register you will be sent a poll card just before an election. You can vote:

  • In person
  • By post
  • By proxy

Voting in person

White poll cards are issued to electors who vote in person at a polling station, and this card will state where your polling station is and when you can vote. On the day of the election you should go to your designated polling station between 7am and 10pm to cast your vote. Tell the staff inside the polling station your name and address so that they can check you are on the register and eligible to vote.  It is helpful to bring along your poll card but it is not essential if you don’t bring it along.

Voting by post or proxy

A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address specified by you, including overseas. You will need to consider if there would be time for you to receive and return your ballot papers by polling day. If you have been sent a postal vote, you cannot vote in person at a polling station.

Apply to vote by post

You must provide your personal signature and date of birth to make sure your vote is secure. Special arrangements are in place if you’re unable to provide a signature. Please contact us for further details. If you have chosen to vote by post you will receive a purple poll card.

You can also arrange to vote by proxy, meaning another person is authorised to vote on your behalf. A signature and date of birth are also required for proxy voters.

Apply to vote by proxy

Further details can be obtained by contacting the Electoral Registration Officer.

If you have a learning disability, you can follow the step-by-step easy read guide on how to register to vote online.

Your Right to Vote

The right to vote is summarised below. There are two distinct electoral franchises.

Parliamentary franchise

Parliamentary electors

A person is entitled to vote as an elector at a United Kingdom parliamentary election in any constituency if on the date of the poll he or she:

  • Is registered in the register of parliamentary electors for that constituency;
  • Is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart);
  • Is either a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; and
  • Is of voting age

A person is not entitled to vote as an elector:

  • More than once in the same constituency at any parliamentary election
  • In more than one constituency at a general election

Local Government franchise

Local Government electors (who may also vote in European and Scottish Parliamentary elections)

A person is entitled to vote as an elector at a local government election in any electoral area if on the date of the poll he or she:

  • Is registered in the register of local government electors for that area
  • Is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart)
  • Is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of a member state of the European Union (EU citizens wishing to vote in European Parliamentary elections in the UK must complete the relevant form)
  • Is of voting age

A person is not entitled to vote as an elector:

  • More than once in the same electoral area at any local government election
  • In more than one electoral area at an ordinary election for a local government area which is not a single electoral area

Entitlement to be registered

A person is entitled to be registered in the register of parliamentary electors for any constituency or part of a constituency if on the relevant date he or she:

  • Is resident in the constituency or that part of it
  • Is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart)
  • Is either a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; and
  • Is of voting age

A person is entitled to be registered in the register of local government electors for any electoral area if on the relevant date he or she:

  • Is resident in that area
  • Is not subject to any legal incapacity vote (age apart)
  • Is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of the European Union and
  • Is of voting age

If your name is not on the electoral register and you think it should be, you can register online or contact the Electoral Registration Officer for an application form.

Scottish elections

The voting age for Scottish elections has been permanently lowered to 16.

You just need to register first. It only takes a few minutes and you can do it online.

You’ll need to provide your date of birth and National Insurance number (you only need your National Insurance number if you are 16 or over), which you can find on official documents such as letters from HM Revenue and Customs. Get help if you have lost your National Insurance number.

Don’t worry – if you are not yet 16 you will not need your National Insurance number to register.

Special registration arrangements

Special arrangements apply for the registration of:

  • British citizens living overseas
  • Members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, their spouse or civil partner
  • Crown Servants or British Council employees or spouse or civil partner
  • Homeless or have no fixed address
  • Remanded in custody (not yet convicted of any offence)
  • Patient in a mental health hospital

For further details please call us on 0800 393 783 or e-mail ero@highland.gov.uk

European Union members states

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom*.

Citizens of the UK, The Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections in the UK.

Commonwealth and British overseas territories

Commonwealth countries

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada,  Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, The Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Cyprus, Rwanda, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu,  Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Although also EU member states, citizens of the UK, Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections in the UK.

British overseas territories

Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antartic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands.

In addition, any previous resident of Hong Kong who holds a British Dependent Territories, British Nationals (Overseas) or British Overseas passport also meets the nationality criteria for all elections in the UK.


Electoral Register and Open Register

Why there are 2 registers

Electoral Registration Officers keep two registers using information received from the public:

  • The Electoral Register
  • The Open Register (previously known as the Edited Register)

The Electoral Register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. It is used for electoral purposes such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law such as detecting crime, for example fraud, calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.

The Electoral Register

The use of the Electoral Register is heavily restricted by Statutory Regulations. It can only be given to, or used by, authorised persons including:-

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office who use the register for electoral purposes

  • Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics

  • We 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

This is an extract of the Electoral Register, but 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 addressee details. Your name and address will be included in the Open Register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the Open Register would not affect your right to vote.

Users of the Open Register may 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 contacting people who have made donations

  • Debt-collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors

  • Direct-marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists

  • 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 websites 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

Your choice

The law allows anyone to buy a copy of the Open Register for a prescribed fee. This register has been in place since 2002. Before that date the full Electoral Register could be sold to anyone for a fee. Since 2002 electors have had to make a choice about whether to opt out of the Edited Register. All households were sent a canvass form every year listing everyone who was registered to vote. Each person on the form had to make their choice every year and tick a box on the form if they wanted to be opted out of the Edited Register.

From now on, your Open Register choice will continue until you tell us that you wish to change it. If you change address you would have to make a fresh registration application and Open Register choice.

If you wish to opt in or out please complete the following application form and return it to your local electoral registration office.