To be able to vote in any UK election or referendum, you must be registered to vote. If you have recently moved, or are not currently registered, you will need to register before you can vote.
The current system for registering to vote is called Individual Electoral Registration. Each member of the household is responsible for registering themselves (instead of one person in the household being responsible, as was previously the case).
Who can register?
In Wales you can register if you’re aged 14 or over, and you must also be one of the following:
- a UK citizen
- an Irish, EU or Commonwealth citizen with a permanent UK address
- a qualifying foreign citizen
A qualifying foreign citizen is a citizen of another country who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need such permission.
Although you can register once you are 14 in Wales, you can only vote when you’re 16 or over at the Senedd elections (in 2021). For all other elections you can only vote when you’re 18 or over.
How to register
You can register to vote online.
However, if you require a paper application you can request this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01978 292020. You will need to provide your date of birth and National Insurance number.
If your name, date of birth or National Insurance number are not verified (matched) after you have applied to register, we will contact you asking for further documentary evidence, such as a copy of your passport or photo drivers licence.
Once you are registered to vote you will be added to the electoral register. You will only need to register again if you change your address, name or nationality.
When can I register?
If you are eligible to vote you can register anytime throughout the year.
However, if you are seeking to vote in a specific election there will be a deadline by which you must have registered. This date will be determined by when that election is to be held.
The electoral register
The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections.
There are two versions of the register - the full electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register). Registers are managed locally by our registration officers.
About the full electoral register
This contains the name and address of everyone who is registered to vote (except those who have registered to vote anonymously).
The full electoral register is used for electoral purposes such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It can also be used by certain people and organisations for crime detection, calling people for jury service, campaigning activities or checking credit applications.
The purposes the register can be used for are set out in law and it is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.
Viewing the full register
You can inspect the full electoral register at any time at The Guildhall, Wrexham, LL11 1AY, under the following conditions:
- Inspection of the register will be under supervision
- You can take extracts from the register, but only by hand written notes
- Information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, unless it has been published in the open register
About the open register
This an extract of the full electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it can be used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.
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.
How do I join or get removed from the open register?
If you are registering online you can choose not to be included in the open register during your application.
If you are already registered you can choose to re-register and select to opt out of being on the open register.
If you are already registered you can also change your opt-out preference at any time by contacting our Electoral Services Team at email@example.com. You will need to state your full name, address and indicate whether you wish to be included in or removed from the open register.
If you're worried that having your name and address on the electoral register could affect your safety, or the safety of someone in your household, you can register to vote anonymously.
This means you will still be able to vote, but your name and address will not be on the electoral register. Your electoral registration office will not disclose your details to anyone, unless they are legally required to.
You can find out more information and download the application form on the Electoral Commission’s website.
Applying for an Anonymous Elector’s Document
In the UK, voters are legally required to show photo identification (ID) when voting at a polling station at some elections.
If you are registered to vote anonymously and want to vote at a polling station, you will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document for elections that require photo ID.
This document is free to apply for. You cannot use any other types of photo ID to vote anonymously as your entry at the polling station has a number instead of your name.
The document cannot be used as proof of identity for any other purpose than for voting.
How to apply
If you register to vote anonymously, we will invite you to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document by sending you a paper application, including information about the type of photograph you must provide as part of your application.
You can return the application:
- by post to ‘Electoral Services, Guildhall, Wrexham, LL11 1AY – please send in a stamped envelope
- in person at the Guildhall
- electronically (such as a scanned copy sent by email – to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Once the electoral registration officer has verified your identity they will issue your document and send it to you in the post.
If you are registered to vote anonymously then you can choose whether you wish to vote in person, by post or by proxy (this is when you nominate someone to vote on your behalf).
I am registered as an anonymous elector; how do I vote in person at a polling station?
You will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document if you choose to vote in person. This is the only form of identification that you will be able to use in the polling station because your name does not appear on the register and therefore no other types of identification will prove that you are the correct elector. You will need to provide a photo as part of your application for an Anonymous Elector’s Documents.
You must present your Anonymous Elector’s Document in addition to your poll card in order to vote in person at a polling station. The electoral register number on the Anonymous Elector’s Document must match the electoral register number shown on your poll card to be accepted.
You do not need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document if you are voting by post.