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Register to Vote

How to Register to Vote

If you want to be able to vote in elections and referendums you need to be registered to vote. You are now responsible for registering yourself. So, if your circumstances change e.g. if you move house or you change your name, it’s important that you re-register as soon as possible.


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.


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


For more information about registering to vote please see our Frequently Asked Questions which appear at the bottom of this page.

 

You can also 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 register is published annually on 1 December and monthly updates are normally published on the first of each month. But where the first of the month falls on a weekend or a public holiday the register will be published on the next working day after the weekend or the public holiday.


Monthly updates are not published on the 1st of either October or November due to the annual canvass.


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 may be shared with Electoral Registration Officers for other areas for the purpose of verifying the accuracy of electoral registers.


It may also be shared with the Registrar General of Births Deaths and Marriages for the purposes of:


(a) compiling and publishing statistical information with respect to the number and conditions of the population in the interval between one census and another.


(b) improving the quality and accuracy of the future Censuses.


(c) compiling non-disclosive statistics on numbers of individuals who have not registered to vote.


(d) producing electoral registration statistics.


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 ON Fife library (you can find your nearest library here )
  • Electoral Registration Office, Fife House, North Street, Glenrothes
  • Fife Council Local Services Centres


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.

Absent Votes

If you are not able to attend a polling station on the day of an election or referendum, 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 first be registered as will the person you ask to vote on your behalf. More information is contained below in the sections about ‘Voting by post’ and ‘Somebody voting on your behalf’

Voting By Post

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

 

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


If your circumstances change, for example if you move house or change your name, your previous postal vote will no longer be valid. You will need to re-apply for a postal vote at your new address – this can be done at the same time as you register.


Please note that at elections, postal votes cannot be issued immediately. Due to production deadlines there will be a delay in issuing postal packs. Additionally the mail service to and from overseas countries cannot always be guaranteed and you should seek advice at the time as to whether or not it is practical for a postal vote to be sent and returned before election day or whether you would be better arranging a proxy vote for the election.

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, and the person you ask to vote on your behalf, will have to be registered before a proxy application can be approved. 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 the Electoral Registration Team.

 

Contact details are at the bottom of this page.

 

Even if you have a proxy vote, you will be able to vote in person if you arrive to vote before your proxy.

 

If your circumstances change, for example if you move house or change your name, your previous proxy vote will no longer be valid. You will need to re-apply for a proxy vote at your new address – this can be done at the same time as you register.

What happens after I register?

You will receive a letter from the Electoral Registration Officer confirming your registration and your method of voting. You will subsequently receive a poll card for any election called whilst you remain registered at that address.

Where is my polling station?

If you have chosen to vote at a polling station, 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.

How do I check that I’m on the register?

If you have received a poll card for an upcoming election or referendum and your circumstances have not changed, you will be on the register for that election or referendum and do not need to re-register.


Otherwise, you will need to either view the Electoral Register at one of the places detailed above or contact the Electoral Registration office directly. The Register of Electors is not published on-line.


Please note that we can only provide details relevant to you - details of other electors cannot be disclosed.

Canvass/Household Enquiry Forms

Each year the Electoral Registration Officer is required by law to write to each household in the registration area to check if there have been any changes.


Every householder in Fife will receive a Household Enquiry Form in early August. By returning the form you will confirm who lives in your household and who is eligible to vote. If there have been any changes in the household you can mark these on the form.


However when a person’s name is added to the Household Enquiry Form, they are not automatically added to the register.


Instead they will receive an Invitation to Register which they must complete and return (or go to the Government online registration site) to apply to register to vote.


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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