Voter registration forms available from the Council give you the choice to 'opt out' of the Open Register. Under electoral law, you must make this choice each year and the opt out only applies until the next annual update.
The open register is available for general sale by any person, company or organisation and used for commercial activities such as marketing, which you may consider to be junk mail.
Under Section 11 of the Data protection Act 1998, you can now give the Electoral Registration Officer notice that you do not want your personal information to be used for direct marketing either permanently or until further notice.
To do this you can complete the Opt out of the Open register form on the right hand side of this page at related pages.
You cannot do this on behalf of another person. Each individual who is registered to vote at a property must sign a letter or email the Electoral Services Department separately that they want to do this. Please ensure to include your property address.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two versions of the Electoral Register, why?
Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the electoral register and the open-access register (also known as the open register).
The electoral register 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. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:
- detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
- calling people for jury service
- checking credit applications.
The open-access register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. It is mainly used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.
Your name and address will be included in the open-access register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open-access register does not affect your right to vote.
Why do I need to opt out permanently?
Opting out from the open register permanently is not compulsive. Only write to us if you do not want to be included on the open register which can be sold to commercial companies and used for marketing purposes.
I've previously indicated on the voter registration form that I do not want to be on the open register, why do I have to do this again?
Each year the electoral registration officer is required to send a voter registration form (also known as a canvass form) to all households in the district listing the names of those persons eligible to vote. At that time you are asked to check if the information is correct and make any amendments.
It also gives you the choice of opting out of the open register. This preference has previously been 'carried forward' each year.
However, recent guidance and legal advice means that we are no longer able to carry forward your preference unless you notify us that you wish to permanently opt out. This is to comply with the requirements of Section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
What happens if I do not notify the Democratic and Electoral services team that I wish to per permanently opted out from the open register?
When you receive the annual voter registration form, you will have to indicate each time if you wish to opt-out from the open register.
If you do not notify us, your details will be included on the open register and can be sold to commercial companies for direct marketing purposes.
What if I change my mind?
If you decide later that you would like to be included on the open register, please write or email us and we will make the change.