Who can register to vote

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

Electoral registration is entirely separate for other council services, so even if you pay council tax and are signed up to other services, it does not automatically add you to the electoral register. 

The fastest way to check if you are registered to vote is to contact Electoral Services using the details at the bottom of this page.

When and how often should I register to vote?

Ideally, you should remember to register to vote every time you move addresses or as soon as you turn 16 years old.

You only need to register once as long as you are living at the same address.

Every year, we will check that we have the right information on the electoral register as part of our annual canvass. If you forget to register to vote straight after you move or your sixteenth birthday, the annual canvass is a reminder. 

You must be registered to vote by midnight, 12 working days before polling day to be able to vote in an election, so it is wise to make sure you are registered well in advance of an election. 

What happens if I change my name?

You will need to change your name on the electoral register as well. We will need to see documentary evidence that your name has changed, such as a marriage or deed poll certificate. 

We don’t need to see original documents, so you can upload a clear scanned copy or photograph to the Electoral Services contact form, stating your new name, your previous name and your registered address. 

You can also contact Electoral Services if you would like a paper copy of the form and pre-paid envelope to send in your evidence. 

What if I live at more than one address?

Unless you’re a student, generally you should be registered to vote at the address where you spend the majority of your time, or where you conduct the main business of your life. If your GP, your bank and other services are registered to one address, this is probably the address you are best to be registered at. 

If you split your time equally between two addresses and they are in two different areas, you can be registered at both. However, it is very important that you pay attention to which elections you are voting in. You can vote in multiple areas for local elections, but at a general election you must choose to vote in one area only. 

I’m a full-time student – where should I be registered?

Students can be registered at both their home address and term-time address (if they are separate), so it is up to you where you would like to register.

Often, students move to new addresses every year, so it can be hard to keep track of your term-time address. It is fine to be registered at just your home address, but make sure you apply to vote by post or vote by proxy if you’re not going to be home on polling day. You’ll be given the opportunity to download an application form when you complete your registration online.

I live in residential care – where should I be registered?

If you are living in residential care, you should be registered to vote at your care home, even if you still own your own property elsewhere.

Someone from the care home or a member of your family can assist you by completing the application online on your behalf, or we can send you a paper application form instead.
 
They can also help you to apply to vote by post or vote by proxy, but you will need to be able to sign your application form yourself. If you cannot provide a consistent signature, please contact Electoral Services for advice. 

I have a single person discount on my council tax – will registering my 16-year-old affect this?

No. While we do share some information with Council Tax, this does not include the details of 16 and 17-year-olds on the register.

I’m a British citizen living or working abroad – can I register?

Yes, provided you meet certain criteria. You can learn more about registering and voting when you live abroad.

If you are a Crown servant or a British Council employee, there is a separate application process (GOV.UK) for you and your spouse or civil partner. You’ll need your staff ID or payroll number to do this. You’ll need to renew this kind of registration regularly, but we’ll send you a reminder when it is time.

You’ll also need to make sure you apply to vote by post or vote by proxy if you’re not going to be home or in the UK on polling day. You’ll be given the opportunity to download an application form when you complete your registration online.  

I’m in the Armed Forces – can I register?

Yes - you and your spouse or civil partner can register in either of the following ways:

  • If you are based in the UK and are unlikely to be posted overseas or move around in the 12 months, you can register normally
  • If you are likely to be based overseas in the next 12 months or you don’t have a permanent UK address, you can register as a service voter (GOV.UK). You’ll need your service number to do this. You’ll need to renew this kind of registration regularly, but we’ll send you a reminder when it is time

You’ll also need to make sure you apply to vote by post or vote by proxy if you’re not going to be home or in the UK on polling day. You’ll be given the opportunity to download an application form when you complete your registration online. 

I don’t have a fixed address – can I register?

Yes – if you spend a substantial part of your time in the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough area, even if it is not a residential address, you can register to vote. This also applies if you live in a narrowboat and do not have a permanent mooring.
 
There is a specific application that you need to complete that cannot be filled out online. Please contact Electoral Services so that we can send you a paper copy or arrange for you to collect this from our office if you do not have a postal address.

Can I register to vote anonymously?

Yes, it is possible to register anonymously for reasons of safety, for example, if you are escaping violence or you have a job that puts your safety at risk.
 
To be eligible to register anonymously, you’ll need to provide documentary evidence like a court order, or have a countersignature from a relevant organisation.
 
You can download an application to vote anonymously (GOV.UK) yourself, however it is best to contact Electoral Services about this directly so they can advise you on the best approach for you.

I look after someone who does not have the capacity to vote – should they be registered? 

It is very important that vulnerable people are not prevented from accessing their democratic right, so capacity to vote is not part of the criteria for whether or not someone should be registered. If they are over the age of 16 and they are a British, Irish, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen, it is our legal duty to ensure that they are able to register to vote.
 
If they are unable to tell someone how they would like to vote, they can exercise their right not to vote rather than be forcibly prevented. We will still send them a poll card, but they don’t have to do anything with it.

What does ‘a qualifying Commonwealth citizen’ mean?

A person is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen if:

  • They do not require leave to enter or remain in the UK
  • They do require leave to enter or remain in the UK but have been granted such leave (or are treated as having been granted such leave)

There are several countries in the Commonwealth, including British Overseas Territories and British Crown Dependencies. You can find a full list of Commonwealth countries here.

Can EU Citizens still register to vote?

At the moment, yes. Here is a full list of EU countries.

However, the Elections Act 2022 has set out that EU citizens will lose their automatic right to vote in the UK. 

Two groups of EU citizens will retain their rights:

  • Qualifying EU citizens from countries with reciprocal agreements with the UK (currently Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain) 
  • EU citizens with retained rights because they were already living in the UK before 1 January 2021 when the UK left the EU 

These changes are expected to come into force in Spring 2024 and more information will be available here in due course.

Last updated: 08/12/2022 11:45