Electoral Registration Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Elections and Voting

Page last updated at 27 June 2017 at 17:21

Frequently Asked Questions About Elections and Voting

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

The full electoral register is held at the electoral registration office at Eastleigh Borough Council. The electoral register is a public document and is open to inspection under supervision by electoral registration staff.

For more information please contact the electoral registration office.

I have been turned down for credit. I have been told this is because I am not registered to vote. What can I do?

The first thing you should do is contact the electoral registration office to check if you are actually registered to vote. The credit reference agencies are allowed by law to buy a copy of the Electoral Register in order for them to be able to check that people are living where they say they are.

If you are already on the electoral register you can get a Certificate of Residence from Electoral Services for a charge. If you are not yet registered you will need to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

For more information please contact the electoral registration office.

I pay council tax, does that mean that I am automatically registered to vote?

Council Tax and the Electoral Register are separate. This is because not all Council Tax payers are eligible to appear on the Electoral Register, for example due to nationality.  Some people are exempt from paying council tax while being allowed to register to vote.

What are the two versions of the Electoral Register?

There are two versions of the register, the electoral register and the open register (also know as the edited register).

The electoral register has the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote, and is updated each month. This register can be inspected by the public but can only be used for electoral purposes, law enforcement and crime prevention, statistical purposes and credit referencing.

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.  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. 

You can find more information about both registers and how they may be used at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

When I move, does my registration automatically get amended?

No. You must complete a fresh application to register at your new address.  It will be much quicker to do so online by going to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote  If applying on a paper application, send it to the Electoral Registration Office at Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, SO50 8TE. 

Re-registering for Council Tax does not automatically change your electoral registration details as the law requires that separate applications are needed for both systems.

I am a student, where should I register to vote?

The law says that students can register to vote at both their home, and term time addresses, so long as both addresses are not in the same area. However it is not compulsory to register at both homes, you can decide to register at one of your homes only if you wish.

What nationalities are able to register to vote?

All citizens of Britain, Ireland, European Union and Commonwealth countries should register to vote. You can find of list of these at


How can I view the electoral register?

The electoral register is available for public inspection under supervision at the Electoral Registration Office, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh SO50 9YN on normal working days but please make an appointment prior to your arrival by calling 023 8068 8000.

How can I cast my vote?

Currently the law allows you to vote in three ways. First, by voting in person at your local polling station, secondly by organising a postal vote so a ballot paper is sent to you before polling day, or thirdly you can appoint a proxy, someone to vote for you on your behalf.

How do I arrange a postal vote?

You need to complete a postal application form. Please read our page on postal voting arrangements. You must complete an application form and return to our office no later than 5pm eleven working days before the election.

How do I arrange a proxy vote?

Proxy votes can be arranged for a particular election or permanently. In order to appoint someone as your proxy for a particular election, please read our page on voting by proxy

Completed proxy application forms must be received no later than 5pm six working days before the election.

How do I find out where my polling station is?

A few weeks before an election, poll cards will be sent to every one who is eligible to vote, even if you have arranged to vote by post.

This card provides information on where your polling station is located and the hours that it will be open.

A map showing your polling station location is also printed on the card. Alternatively, you can contact the electoral registration office.

Do I need my polling card to vote?

No. Your poll card is for your information only. Taking your poll card along with you when you go to vote will assist the staff in the polling station to find your name in the register, but it is not required in order to vote.

Can I vote by telephone or on the internet?

No. The law does not currently allow for voting by telephone or the internet. However, the government has recently allowed various councils across the country to trial different methods of voting in order to see how secure the systems are, how easy they are to use, and the reliability of the equipment.

If these trials are successful it is likely that the government will introduce new legislation regarding voting that will allow for voting using these different methods. However this will not happen until after the next general election, so until then you will have to use the traditional methods of voting, either in person, by post or by proxy.

When will I receive information about the candidates?

We are prohibited by law from sending out information that may favor one candidate over another. It is the responsibility of the political parties or individual candidates to provide information about themselves and their policies. If you have not received any information you could try contacting the local parties to get the information sent to you.

What happens to my ballot paper after I have put it in the ballot box?

At the close of poll, the sealed ballot box is taken to the count venue so that the votes can be counted. Only when the votes are ready to be counted is the Ballot Box unsealed and opened. First the total number of votes cast is counted. This should total the same as the number issued in the polling station. The votes are then divided between the candidates. Each candidate is allowed to be present at the count and is also allowed to appoint counting agents to observe the count to check that it is all done correctly.

Is it a secret ballot?

Yes. Nobody but you will know how you voted. This is one of the major principles of elections in this country. When your ballot paper is issued to you, your elector number is written on the ballot paper counterfoil. This is for security and to prevent fraud. After the count, all the counted ballot papers are packaged up. These packages can only be opened and re-inspected by order of a court.

Who are the people sitting outside the polling station wearing political party colours?

The people are known as Tellers. They work on behalf of the political parties recording who has voted. They may ask for your poll number, or your poll card (on which you poll number is printed). This allows the political parties to know who has voted, and to make sure that their known supporters go and vote.

You do not have to give your poll number or poll card to the Tellers, and they have no right to ask you how you voted. If you are unhappy with the actions of the Tellers, please advise the presiding officer who is in charge of running the polling station.

Contact Details 

 E-mail : elections@eastleigh.gov.uk

Address: Electoral Registration Office, Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh House, Upper Market Street, Eastleigh, SO50 9YN

Telephone: 023 8068 8000