Registering to vote

How do I register to vote?

You can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Everyone is responsible for registering themselves. You need to give a few more details to register - including your national insurance number and date of birth. This makes the electoral register more secure.

Why should I register to vote?

  • you can only vote in elections if your name is on the Register of Electors for your area
  • credit checks - credit referencing companies use the Register when checking if a person has a good credit rating. If you are not listed on the Register, you may have difficulty opening a bank account, applying for a loan, credit card or mortgage
  • jury service - the Register of Electors is used to call people for Jury Service. There is evidence that fewer young people and people from ethnic minorities register to vote with the result that they are under-represented in the judicial system. The upper age limit for Jury Service is now 76 years of age
  • it's the law - there is a maximum £1,000 fine for individuals who refuse to register, and a maximum £5,000 fine for individuals who provide false information

What happens if my details change, including my address?

If you have moved to a new address simply complete the online register to vote form to update your name, address or any other details on the electoral register.

Part of the application process will ask for your previous address so that your details will be transferred to your new address.

Remember to keep your details updated; it will help keep your credit history accurate.

If you have changed your name you must provide documentary evidence so we can update the electoral register. This could be one of the following:

  • marriage certificate
  • deed poll
  • amended birth certificate
  • overseas marriage or civil partnership certificate

You can send a photo of your evidence to elections@solihull.gov.uk as long as the image is clearly visible. You can also post a clear photocopy (not the original) to Electoral Services, Council House, Manor Square, Solihull, B91 3QB. 

Who can register to vote?

Most people living in the UK can register to vote, and vote in elections.

You must not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.

You can register to vote if you are:

  • aged 16 or over (but you cannot vote until you are 18)
  • a citizen who is either a British, Irish, EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizen (qualifying Commonwealth means those citizens from Commonwealth or former Commonwealth nations, who have leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who do not require such leave)

Can I take my details off the open register?

The Open Register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It leaves out the names and addresses of people who have asked for them to be excluded from this version of the register.

The Open Register can be bought by anyone who asks for a copy and they may use it for any purpose. When registering, you must indicate whether or not you wish your name to be excluded from the Open Register.

Remove or add your details to the open register

Removing your details from the Open Register does not affect your right to vote.

Student registration

As a student, you can register at your term-time address and at your home address. You can vote in local government elections at home and at your term-time address, as long as they are not in the same local government area. However, you cannot vote twice in a UK Parliamentary General Election.

Anonymous registration

Anonymous registration is possible if giving your name or address would put you or someone in your house or family in danger. You must have court documents or evidence from a police officer or social worker. A separate application form must be completed in writing - you are not able to register anonymously online. Please contact the office for more information.

Overseas and Service voters

British Citizens living abroad can vote in UK Parliamentary General Elections as long as they have been on the electoral register in the previous 15 years. Overseas electors cannot vote in local elections. British citizens living abroad for more than 15 years are not allowed to register to vote in UK elections. You can register as an overseas elector at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, using the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK.

I'm a member of the Armed Forces. How can I register?

A member of HM Forces and their wife/husband or civil partner can register as an ordinary elector or as a service voter. You can register as a service voter by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

A service declaration must be completed, which is valid for five years. Each unit of the services has designated one member of staff to be a Unit Registration Officer who will be able to provide further advice.

What is the electoral register?

The electoral register is a list of everyone who is registered to vote. If you are not on the register, you won't be able to vote in elections, and you'll lose your opportunity to have your say about what goes on in your area.

The electoral register is kept in two forms. The electoral register and the open register.

Only certain people and organisations can have copies of the electoral register, and they can only use it for a few agreed reasons. These include issues around elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking your identity when you have applied for credit.

The open register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have asked. This register can be bought by anyone and can be used for anything. You can choose not to have your details published on the register by "opting out" when you register to vote.

The electoral register is open to inspection, but people cannot search for your name. It is kept in address order within each of the 17 electoral wards.

In some situations, people require a letter confirming that they are included on the electoral register. This can be arranged by contacting Electoral Services on 0121 704 6042.

How do I find out if I am registered to vote?

To find out if you are registered to vote, telephone Electoral Services or e-mail the Electoral Services Office.

You can view the full register and the open register person at Solihull Connect at Theatre Square and Chelmsley Wood Library. Other libraries will only have the part of the register relevant to their area.

You will be supervised while reading the register.

How do I vote?

Near the election date you will be sent an official poll card telling you when election day is and where your local polling station is. You can vote there between 7.00am and 10.00pm on election day. Our staff will be at every polling station to help you with any questions or if you have a disability.

You can choose to vote by post at an election, but you must have completed and returned an application form to Electoral Services by the deadline given on your poll card (the deadline is always the 11th working day before an election).

Further information about voting methods can be found at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

Postal voting

If you are unable to get to your Polling Station on Election Day you can apply for a postal vote provided you are on the register of electors.

You can register for a permanent postal vote or a temporary postal vote for 1 election only.

To register you will need to complete a postal voting application form.

You should return your completed form to:

Solihull MBC
Electoral Services
Council House
Manor Square
Solihull
B91 3QB

Proxy voting

If you are unable to get to your Polling Station on Election Day, you can apply for a proxy vote. A proxy is someone who can go to the polling station and vote on your behalf.

You can request a proxy vote application online or contact us.

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