Individual Electoral registration

In June 2014, the system of registration changed to that of Individual Electoral Registration (IER). Individual Electoral Registration means that each person is now responsible for their own registration; one person can no longer register on behalf of the household.

If you need to register, you are now required to register individually and provide your date of birth and National Insurance number. The details you provide are then checked against government records for verification before you can be added to the register.

Register to vote

The quickest and easiest way to register is to complete a form online:

  • visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
  • fill in your name, address, date of birth, nationality, national insurance number. Your national insurance number can be found on your National Insurance card or in official paperwork such as payslips or letters about benefits or tax credits
  • when your information is verified, we will send you an acknowledgment letter. However, where an entry did not match other national databases, it is the duty of the ERO to request further evidence to support the registration. We are legally bound to follow new procedures as set out in the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013.

No access to the internet? You can ring the office on 020 7364 0872 and provide the information over the telephone or we can send you an application through the postand we will send you a form.

Who can register

In order to be included in the Tower Hamlets Register of Electors, you must be:

  • 17 years old (you must be at least 18 years of age to vote on polling day)
  • a British, Irish, Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the European Union member state residing in Tower Hamlets. Please download the list of eligible countries.
  • a British citizen based overseas, a Crown servant, British Council employee or a member of the armed forces you can. Find out more information on how to register.
  • If you are homeless or have no fixed address (this would include guardian of commercial properties), a person in a mental health hospital or a person remanded in custody, you can still register to vote. To register, you need to complete the declaration of local connection form. Please contact the electoral office for a form.
  • Students living away from home may register to vote at both their term time and home address. A student who has a permanent home address and a term-time address can be lawfully registered at both addresses. If an elector is registered to vote in two different electoral areas, they are eligible to vote in local elections for the two different local councils. However, it is an offence to vote twice in any one election.

Your personal information

We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes. We will look after personal information securely and we will follow the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not give personal information about you and the other people in your household to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.

Certificate of residency

If you require confirmation that your name appears on the Register of Electors, please contact the office on 020 7364 0872 or vote@towerhamlets.gov.uk and make a request. See all fees and charges.

There are two registers. Why?

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

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. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
  • calling people for jury service
  • 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. 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.

How do I get included or removed from the open register?

If you are registering online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, you can click in the box if you want your name and address to be removed from the open register.

You can also change your preference at any time by making a request to: vote@towerhamlets.gov.uk providing your full name, address and an indication of whether you wish to be included or removed from the open register.

How do I get on the electoral register or update my details (e.g change my name or address)?

Can I register in more than one place

It’s sometimes possible to register at two addresses (though you can only vote once in a government election). For example, if you’re a student with different home and term-time addresses, you may be able to register at both.

If you want to register at two addresses, go online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and make two separate applications. The Electoral Services Office will look at each application and confirm whether you’re allowed to register.

What happens if I don’t register

If you meet the conditions for registering to vote (eg, you’re 16 or over and you’re British, Irish or a national of an European Union or Commonwealth country) and you’re invited to register, you have to do so.

If you’re invited to register and don’t do so, your local Electoral Registration Officer could impose a civil penalty fine of £80.

You won’t be fined if you have a valid reason for not registering, eg a long stay in hospital, not eligible due to nationality or you have severe learning difficulties.