What is the electoral register?

The electoral register is the list of everyone who is registered to vote at UK Parliamentary, Scottish Government and Local Government elections. You must be on the register to vote.

For more information please Jump to British Sign Language Video or see the British Sign Language video at foot of this page for assistance.

Please see the following videos for further information, including about how to register to vote at Electoral Commission – Quick Guide to Voting in Scotland

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote on-line by clicking here. It is very quick and easy. Remember, you will need to have your national insurance number and date of birth to hand when you register.

Alternatively you can contact the electoral registration office by telephone and an application form will be posted to you. You will need to supply your date of birth and national insurance number with your application form.

When should I register?

You can register at any time.

The register of electors is updated and a new version published each year. However, if you are not already listed on the register or if you want to be registered at a new address, you can apply at any time to have your name included. You can register as soon as you move to a new address.

Additions and deletions to the register can be made every month. Applications have to be made at the beginning of the month in order to be included on the updated register published the following month or during the annual canvass of households.

Please note that in the run up to an election you will only be able to vote at that election if your name has been added to the register of electors up to 12 working days before the date of the election.

Who can register to vote?

To be included on the register you must:-

  • be resident at a qualifying address in the area
  • be a British, or other Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or of another member state of the European Union
  • a foreign national who has leave to enter or remain in the UK or who does not require such leave can register to vote but is only eligible to vote in Scottish Parliament and Scottish Local Government elections if aged 16 or over on date of the poll
  • a convicted prisoner serving a sentence of 12 months or less can register to vote but is only eligible to vote in Scottish Parliament and Scottish Local Government elections if aged 16 or over on date of the poll
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart)
  • be aged 16 years or over. You can apply if you will become 18 years of age before the register is next revised in the autumn but you will not be able vote in a UK Parliament election until you are 18 years of age
  • From 5 April 2016, an elector aged 16 or over on date of the poll can vote at Scottish parliamentary elections
  • From 5 May 2016, an elector aged 16 or over on date of the poll can vote in Scottish Local Government elections

Overseas electors

British citizens (which includes eligible Irish citizens and citizens of the Crown Dependencies) may register as overseas electors if they are now living abroad, providing they are:

  • a person who was previously registered to vote in the UK, either before they left the UK or as an overseas elector – known as the previously registered condition
  • a person who was previously resident in the UK (including those who left the UK before they were old enough to register to vote) – known as the previously resident condition

Applicants must apply to register as an overseas elector in respect of the address where they were last registered to vote in the UK or if they have never been registered, the last address at which they were resident in the UK.

Previously registered condition

An applicant must use the previously registered condition if they have at any point been previously registered to vote in the UK.

If an applicant has been previously registered at more than one address, they should apply in respect of the one they were most recently registered at.

If an applicant was previously registered in respect of more than one address simultaneously then the elector must pick which one of those addresses to register in connection with.

Examples of individuals who may be eligible to register under this condition include:

  • a person who, before they left the UK, was registered to vote as an ordinary elector
  • a person who has previously been registered as an overseas elector and whose declaration has expired
  • a person who left the UK but who was on a local government register in Scotland as an attainer or pre attainer
  • a person last registered on the basis of a declaration of local connection, merchant seaman or a service voter

Previously resident condition

To be eligible under the previously resident condition an applicant must have been previously resident in the UK but never been registered. This includes:

  • a person who was resident in the UK but not registered
  • a person who was too young to register when they left the UK
  • a person who was of no fixed abode when they left the UK and who would have been eligible to make a declaration of local connection or who left the UK before 2001 (when declaration of local connection provisions were not in force)

Crown servants and members of the forces

There are separate arrangements for registering Crown servants and members of the armed forces serving abroad. Contact the Electoral Registration Office for details and an application form.

British Sign Language Video