Electoral Register

The Electoral Register or Electoral Roll is a record of everyone who is registered to vote in an election.

Your name must be on the Electoral Register if you wish to use your right to vote.

You are not automatically registered to vote, even if you pay council tax, or have registered to use other council services.

Register to vote online

If you haven't registered to vote, or you have changed your address, you can register to vote online from 10 June 2014.  Please have your National Insurance Number and your date of birth to hand when you register.  The process only takes 5 minutes.

If you have not got access to the internet at home, you can use the self-serve computers in the Sandwell Council House or any library.

The Government's Your Vote Matters website has further information about registering and voting.

If you have any questions, please contact us:

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9am-5.30pm, Friday 9am-5pm.

There are important changes coming up to the way you register from summer 2014 - you can read more about Individual Electoral Registration

Versions of the register

There are two registers. Why?

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the electoral register and the open register (formerly 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.

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 to help them 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. It is mainly 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-access register would not affect your right to vote.

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, for example when issuing residents parking permits and other local services which require evidence of residency
  • online directory firms to help users of the websites to 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.

If you are concerned by the amount of direct "junk" mail you receive, you can register for free with the Mail Preference Service to limit the amount of this post.

You may also be interested in the Cost of the Electoral Register.

Register of Electors

The Register of Electors (the Voter's List) is a record of everyone who lives within Sandwell and is entitled to vote at elections. The information is obtained from forms returned by householders during the annual audit.

To see what we can and cannot do, you can read our Register of Electors Policy.

The Annual Canvass of Households is conducted every autumn to improve the accuracy of the Register of Electors. An updated register is then published.  During this period you can register by freephone, text or online via the details on the canvass form.

Throughout the rest of the year any elector can claim to be added to the register. If you have changed address or were not registered during the annual audit please download a form from the Electoral Commission website.

You may also be interested in statistics on the number of properties and electors by Ward and Constituency.

Can I register?

You can register to vote if you are:

  • 16 years old or over and a British citizen or an Irish, qualifying Commonwealth e.g. India or European Union citizen e.g. France and are resident in the UK.
  • If you are 16 or 17, you can only register if you will be 18 within the lifetime of the electoral register. You cannot vote until you are 18.

Remember that when registering to vote you must give your National Insurance Number and date of birth.

You can also find out more information about eligible countries for registering to vote in the UK.

The Electoral Commission make information available in a number of accessible formats:-

To order a Braille version, please call the Electoral Commission's public information line on 020 7271 0500

The Electoral Registration Officer works closely with Bite the Ballot to educate, engage and empower young voters. Resources are available from this organisation for schools to use for classroom lessons on the subject of democracy.