When you make an application to register to vote, we hold your details for the purposes of electoral registration.
Personal data we collect
We collect your name, address, National Insurance number, date of birth, nationality and contact details.
Once we verify your registration, we add your name and address to the electoral register. We will also add your name and address to the open register, unless you choose to opt out.
Why do we collect it?
The information that we collect is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest and exercise of official authority as vested in the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations.
Some of the information that we collect is classified as special category personal data. This is processed for reason of substantial public interest as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations, and complies with our data protection policies.
Who do we share your data with?
We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes and other purposes specified in law, outlined below. We will look after personal information securely and we will follow the data protection legislation. We will not share any of the information we hold about you with any third party, unless we have to by law.
If you provide a telephone number or email address, we only use it to contact you about your electoral registration. We do not share it with any third party.
The electoral register
The electoral register is a public document and lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections.
The register is used for electoral purposes - such as making sure only eligible people can vote - and for other limited purposes specified in law. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.
How it is used
- Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office 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 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 to supply or use the register for anything else.
The open register
The open register 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 address details. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.
Who uses the open register?
- 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 their 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.
Opt out of open register
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 does not affect your right to vote.
What if I do not wish to provide this information?
It is a criminal offence not to respond to the information requested by the Household Enquiry Form (HEF), which can result in a £1,000 fine. Failing to respond to an Invitation to Register (ITR) is not a criminal offence, but can result in a civil penalty. These penalties are set out in the Representation of the People Regulations 2001 and 2013 respectively.
You can ask us to remove your contact details from the elections database. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01483 523116.
What if the information you hold is not correct, or has changed?
If you move home and should be registered at another property, you can re-register online at www.gov.uk/registertovote. When you register, you can provide your previous address to ensure that you are not registered twice.
Please email email@example.com or call 01483 523116 if there are any other changes to your details. Examples include: changes to your name, nationality or voting method. You may need to provide proof of the changes.
How long do we keep your information?
We hold historical versions of the electoral register securely for electoral purposes, including checking that applicants for overseas registration have been registered in the past 15 years.
Historical versions are also held by the British Library and local archive services, primarily for research purposes.
Forms relevant for registration, including 'Invitation to Register' forms and 'Household Enquiry' forms are securely destroyed once the information has been processed. Scanned images of these forms are kept on the computer system for as long as they are relevant.
National Insurance numbers are kept on our system for up to 13 months from when the application has been determined by the ERO.
Copies of postal and proxy vote application forms are kept for the duration of their validity, or a year after the relevant election - whichever is later. Evidence of name changes, nationality or identity are kept for the determination period (six days after they have been received and verified) and securely destroyed. The time scales for these retention periods are set out in legislation, specifically the Representation of the People Regulations 2013.
How can I access the information you hold about me?
You can make a Subject Access Request (SAR) online.
Electoral registration data is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (2001).
Who can I contact about the information you hold about me?
The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) is the Data Controller and is responsible for maintaining the electoral register:
Tom Horwood, ERO, Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1HR. Tel: 01483 523116; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Waverley's full Privacy notice.
How to make complaints, compliments and suggestions.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Report a concern on the ICO website.
Page owner: Joe Blythman. Last updated: 16/10/2018 09:53