Registering to vote
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
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.
What if I can't find my National Insurance Number, or don't have one?
Your national insurance number can be found on:
- a payslip
- a P45 or P60
- letters about tax or benefits
- official letters or e-mails from HM Revenue and Customs, or the Department for Work and Pensions
If you haven’t been given a national insurance number, you will need to provide a reason when applying. We will then contact you to provide evidence as to your identity.
What happens if my details change, including my address?
If you have moved to a new address in the Solihull Borough simply complete the online register to vote form to update your name, address or any other details on the electoral register. You will need your National Insurance number (if you have one) and passport (if you've moved abroad).
If you have moved away from Solihull you need to contact your new local authority for a form. You will be able to give your old address on this form, and your new authority will then tell us so we can take your details off our register.
Remember to keep your details updated; it will help keep your credit history accurate. The electoral register can never be back-dated.
If you have changed your name you need to let us know in writing. This must include your signature, old name, new name and your address. Please note that we cannot accept this request by email without your signature. We will also need to see certified proof, such as a copy of a marriage certificate or similar official document. Either send the request by post, e-mail attachment, or fax.
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 of the Republic of Ireland and other European Union (EU) countries
- a British 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)
- a citizen from a British Overseas Territory
- a person with a British Nationals (Overseas) or British Overseas passport
- any previous resident of Hong Kong who holds a British Dependent Territories, British Nationals (Overseas), or British Overseas passport meets the nationality criteria for all elections in the UK. Any previous resident of Hong Kong who only has a Chinese Special Administrative Region passport is Chinese and may not register
- although EU member states, citizens of Republic of Ireland , Cyprus and Malta are eligible to be registered to vote in respect of all elections held in the UK
- citizens of EU countries (other than the UK) cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections
- citizens from Qualifying Commonwealth countries who are seeking asylum are not eligible to vote in the UK until they are granted leave to remain
How can I register?
Voter registration is available online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
You need to register to be allowed to vote in elections and referendums. Everyone is responsible for registering themselves.
You'll need to give some details to register, including your National Insurance number and date of birth. The makes electoral registration more secure.As a student, you can register at your term-time address and at your home address - so whether you're at university or at home, if you're registered, you can vote on election day.
Can I vote twice? At university and at home?
You can't vote twice in a UK Parliamentary, Scottish Parliamentary, National Assembly for Wales or European Parliamentary election.
But 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.
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.
Overseas and Service voters
I live overseas, can I register?
British Citizens living abroad can vote in UK Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections, but not 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.
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:
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.