The register of electors (sometimes called the 'electoral register') lists the names and addresses of everyone who's registered to vote.
The Register of Electors is normally published on 1 December each year and is in force until 30 November the following year. For 2021 the Register of Electors was published on 1 December 2020 and will be in force until 30 November 2021.
There are two versions of the register:
- the Electoral Register, sometimes referred to as the full register
- the Open Register
The Electoral Register - The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. This register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only people who are eligible can vote. It is also used for other limited legally specified activities, such as detecting crime such as fraud, calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.
The Open Register - The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. It is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details or for commercial activities such as marketing.
Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. If you are already registered to vote, you can request to opt-in or opt-out of the open register by calling or emailing your request along with your name and address. Once you have opted out you will not be opted back in to the open register unless you register to vote once again and change your preference.
Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
Viewing the Register of Electors
The full register is available to view at the Electoral Services Office, County Hall.
We do ask that if you are wishing to view the register that you contact either by telephone or email to arrange an appointment to view the register to ensure that you are able to be supervised by a member of our team.
The full register is in a paper form and follows a ward structure, with information ordered by address within each ward (it cannot be searched by an elector’s name and it is not available electronically). The Electoral Services Office only holds the current Register of Electors for viewing.
If you wish to view any previous register, these are transferred to the West Yorkshire History Centre for the Wakefield Archive Service. Contact details and opening times can be found here.
In accordance with regulation 7 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002, the following rules apply to anyone viewing the full register:
- the register is open to public inspection, under supervision
- extracts from the register may be recorded only by making hand written notes
- photocopying or electronic recording, photographing or scanning is not permitted
- information taken from the register must not be used for direct marketing purposes, unless the information has been published in the open register
Anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and could be fined up to £5000.
If you wish to view any previous register, these are transferred to the West Yorkshire History Centre
Credit reference agency use of the full register
Under section 114 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 the law allows legally registered credit reference agencies to buy a copy of the full register each year when published. This is to help with fraud checking - these agencies cannot pass on your details if you have opted out of the open register.
To purchase a copy of the register, an agency must be registered under Part III of the Consumer Credit Act 1974(a) (by virtue of section 147 of that Act) and provide credit reference services with the purpose of:
- vetting applications for credit or applications that can result in the giving of credit or the giving of any guarantee, indemnity or assurance in relation to the giving of credit
- meeting any obligations contained in the Money Laundering Regulations 1993(a), the Money Laundering Regulations 2001(b) or any rules made pursuant to section 146 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000(c)
- statistical analysis of credit risk assessment in a case where no person whose details are included in the full register is referred to by name or necessary implication.
Electoral Services and credit agencies
The Electoral Services office is not responsible for the updating of credit agency records.
If a credit agency is advising that you are not registered to vote, then you are able to contact our office by telephone or email and we will be able to check if there are any issues with your registration.
We do not contact credit agencies regarding individual credit records.