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Register to Vote

How to Register to Vote

The way you register to vote changed in September 2014. You need to register to be able to vote in elections and referendums.

You can register to vote on the Government online registration site - You must provide your name, address, date or birth and national insurance number. Providing this information makes the registration process more secure.

 


You are now responsible for registering yourself – under the old system the ‘head of the household’ could register everyone who lived at their address. The new system is called Individual Electoral Registration (IER).

Although your name may appear on the Electoral Register, you’re not under any legal obligation to vote in any election, unless you wish to do so, however, you must be on the register to be able to vote.




It’s also important that you re-register as soon as possible if your circumstances change e.g. if you move house.

If you are not able to attend a polling station on the day of the election, you may apply in advance to vote by post or proxy (where someone you trust votes on your behalf). However to vote by post or proxy you will have to be registered under IER, as will the person you ask to vote on your behalf. Different rules govern each of these methods of "absent voting".

For more information on IER please see our Frequently Asked Questions which appear at the bottom of this page.

You can access more information by clicking on the headings below:

Register of electors

The Register of electors is a list of everyone who is registered to vote and shows what elections and referendums they can vote in. Not everyone whose name appears on the Register has the right to vote at all elections and referendums.

The Electoral Registration Officer keeps two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral 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 set out in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.

The open register

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but isn’t used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it’s used by businesses and charities to confirm names and addresses. 

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 doesn’t affect your right to vote.If you wish to change your open register choice, please complete our online form or contact us with your name and address.

We will write to you once we’ve changed your open register status. The letter will confirm the change we’ve made and will tell you when a new version of the register, reflecting your request, will be published.

Viewing the register of electors

You can view a current copy of the electoral register, under supervision at:
  • Your local library
  • Electoral Registration Office, Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes
  • FifeCouncil Local Offices
If you can’t see your name on the register, for example, if you’ve recently moved house, you can register to vote here.  You must provide your name, address, date or birth and national insurance number. Providing this information makes the registration process more secure.

Voting by post

It is possible to vote by post in an election. However to vote by post you will have to be registered under IER. If you apply to vote by post you will receive a postal pack (ballot paper, postal voting statement and return envelopes) at the address you have requested.

You will not be able to vote at a polling station. However it is possible to hand your complete postal pack into a polling station within the Fife Council area if you are unable to post it in time.

Somebody voting on your behalf (a proxy vote)

If you can't vote in person, you can apply to vote by proxy. However to vote by proxy you will have to be registered under IER, as will the person you ask to vote on your behalf. Anyone can be your proxy as long as they are eligible to vote in the election and are willing to vote on your behalf.

You have to provide a reason for needing a proxy vote.

For example:

  • you are going away on holiday
  • you have a physical condition that prevents you from getting to the polling place
  • the kind of work you do means you can't get to the polling station
  • you have to attend an educational course
  • you are a Crown Servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed force.


To apply for a proxy vote please complete the correct form which you’ll find here. Return it to Fife Council’s Electoral Registration Team.

Contact details are at the bottom of this page.

What happens after I register? 

If you have chosen to vote at a polling station you will receive a poll card in before the election or referendum which shows the name and address of your polling station. If you have asked to vote by post you will receive a letter explaining how to vote and when you will receive your postal vote.

Where is my polling station?

If you are on the electoral register, you will receive a poll card before the election telling you where and when to vote. The polling station is often a school or local hall near where you live. The poll card is for your information only; you do not need to take it to the polling station in order to vote, although it will help if you do. Click here for more details on our polling places and districts.

Related

Publications

Electoral Registration
Tel: 03451 55 55 11 Contact Electoral Registration online
By Post: Fife House North Street Glenrothes Fife KY7 5LT
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