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Electoral registration frequently asked questions

Here we answer some of the commonly asked questions about registering to vote.


- Change of address

- Change of name

- Electoral register monthly updates

- The two types of register: Open and electoral register

- Request to be removed from the open register

- Who uses the electoral register?

- Who uses the open register?

- Where is my polling station?

- Who are the people at my polling station? 


If you have a question that's not answered here, please contact us.

Change of address

If you have changed your address (whether moving into the district, or within the district), you should ensure you register as a voter at your new address. The quickest way to register is online by clicking on the button on the left of this page. However, if you require a paper form, please contact Electoral Services.

Change of name

 If you have changed your name, you should send us a change of name form, stating your previous and your new name, and the date of the change.  You will need to provide evidence to support the change of name, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll certificate.  Evidence provided should be copies and not actual documents. If you cannot provide such evidence please contact Electoral Services.

You can let us know about your change your name by completing a   Change of Name Form (Word doc) [339KB] .

Electoral register monthly updates

The register is updated monthly after publication on 1 December each year. If you register or change your details during this time, your new details will be included in the next monthly update.

The two types of register: Open and electoral register

Why are there two registers?

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited 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 - and for other limited purposes specified in law. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data protection legislation.

Request to be removed from the open register

You can request to be removed from the open register by completing our online form.

Who uses the electoral register?

Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.

Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.

The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.

The register is used when calling people for jury service.

Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.

Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.

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. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data protection legislation.

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 does not affect your right to vote.

A change to your open register choice can be made in writing to Electoral Services, Uttlesford District Council, Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 4ER or by email to Please ensure that you state in your email or letter your address and full name.  Separate notification is required for each person wishing to request a change to their open register status. 

Who uses the open register?

Users of the open register include:

  • Businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online;
  • Businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers;
  • Charities and voluntary agencies, for example to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other;
  • Charities, to help with fundraising and contacting people who have made donations;
  • Debt collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors;
  • Direct marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists;
  • Landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants;
  • Local councils when identifying and contacting residents;
  • Online directory firms to help users of the websites find people, such as when reuniting friends and families;
  • Organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies;
  • Private sector firms to verify details of job applicants.

Find out more about the electoral register and your vote on the Registering to vote page.

To enquire about buying a copy of the open register please contact Electoral Services.

Where is my polling station?

At elections, polling stations are the places you go to vote. They are staffed by officers appointed by the returning officer. The poll cards delivered before election day specify which polling station covers your area. The list of polling stations in Uttlesford is published as an approved schedule of polling districts and polling places. This schedule is reviewed every four years and involves a process of full public consultation.

Polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm for all elections. It's important not to arrive late as staff are not allowed to issue any votes after the closing time (except to any voter in a queue at the polling station at 10pm). You don't have to produce a poll card in order to be allowed to vote though it may save a little time if you have one. You must, however, be registered to vote for the election.

Who are the people at my polling station? 

There may be people appointed by the candidates located outside the polling station. They are called 'tellers'. They are not appointed by the returning officer. They should not approach you for your voting number until you have voted and are leaving the polling station. You are not compelled to give this information if you do not wish to.