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Edited open register & full electoral roll differences


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Electoral roll explained

Further information about the key differences between the full electoral register and open (edited) versions -

There are two versions of the electoral register.

Using registrations usually obtained by way of voter registration cards received from the public, registration officers maintain two registers

  • the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who has registered their entitlement to vote in elections.

The full 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.

Who uses the full electoral register?

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.
  • The local council and British Library hold copies that anyone may look at but this will be 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.
  • The council 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 full 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 an offence for anyone to supply or use the full electoral register for anything else.

The open edited register is an extract of the electoral register is publicly available for examination.

  • It is not used for elections.
  • It can be bought by any person, company or organisation.

The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with the obligations of current data protection legislation.

A person's name and address will be included in the open edited register if the option to be included is selected on the voter registration card, thereby giving consent to be included on the edited register.

Opting out of the open edited register does not affect your right to vote but may prevent some organisations being able to confirm your details.

Legitimate uses of the edited register:-

Users of the edited register 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 online shopping transactions.
  • 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 organs and to help find people separated by adoption. 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.

There has been some criticism of the open edited register being made available to direct marketing firms relating to junk direct mail.

Remember, there is additional legislation in place to protect you from this and registration at the Mailing Preference Service will prevent organisations from being able to send you unsolicited mailings.

There is a similar scheme in place to prevent unsolicited telephone calls - Telephone preference service

Withdrawing access to the open edited electoral register will cause difficulties for many organisations and companies and ultimately the consumer.

We believe there is sufficient legislation in place to ensure appropriate useage of the edted register.

Record consent and removal

A person's name and address will be included in the open edited register if the option to be included is selected on the voter registration card, thereby giving consent to be included on the edited register.

Opting out of the open edited register does not affect your right to vote but may prevent some organisations being able to confirm your details.

Legitimate uses of the edited register:-

To prevent yourself from being published on future edited electoral rolls you should contact the Electoral Registration department of your local council or follow the guidance at AboutMyVote

Your Rights

  • You have the right to request a copy of any information that we currently hold about you.
  • In order to receive such information please write to us and include your contact details including address and payment of £10 to cover administration expenses to the following address:
  • Subject Access Request.
    Data Protection and Privacy Manager
    1st Locate UK Limited
    Town Centre House, Leeds LS2 8LY

Requests to remove data from our public search engine results.

  • The records we hold relate to information available in the public domain and arise from consented records registered on the edited electoral roll, births, deaths, marriages and company directorships.
  • Although not obliged to do so, as by definition of appearing on the edited register, a person's consent has been given for processing of such data, we will remove a persons details from our public search engine results upon completion of this search engine data removal request (CLICK HERE).
  • Other requests for removal of entries to our private subscription databases must be made under Section 10 of the Data Protection Act and will be processed and considered in accordance with guidance received from the Information Commissioners Office.
  • We will only accept a written request for data removal made under section 10 of the Data Protection Act and we may take steps to verify the identity of the person making the request. We will not accept an email request.
  • All parties wishing to be included and considered within a Section 10 notice should sign the request and we may take steps to verify all identities in this process.
  • We will consider each case individually within the timelines prescirbed by the Information Commissioners Office and inform you of the outcome - either our agreement or refusal for removal.


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