Invitation to Register (ITR)

Can I register to vote online?

Yes. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to register to vote online - on the GOV.UK website.

If your application has been successful we will send you a confirmation letter.

Why do you want my national insurance number and date of birth?

We use your national insurance number and date of birth to confirm your details with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). We do not store your national insurance number but we may use your date of birth as a means for verifying the identity of an elector so that we can prevent electoral fraud.

How do I find out what my national insurance number is?

The easiest place to find your national insurance number is on official paperwork, such as your national insurance card, payslips or letters from the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

If you still can't find it, you can:

Who is eligible to register?

You can register to vote if you are:

16 years old or over (you can only vote when you are 18)

A British, Irish, qualifying Commonwealth* or European Union citizen** who is resident in the UK


* to qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and either have leave to enter or remain in the UK or not require such leave

** Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Republic of Ireland) are not able to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections and cannot vote in all referendums. 

Do I need to re-register every year?

Once you're registered under the new system you don't need to register again unless you change address. However, you will be sent a canvass communication every year which includes the names of everyone who is living at your address and allows you to inform us of any changes so we can then make sure everyone is registered to vote.

Why do you want my email and phone number?

We will use this to contact you if we have any queries about your registration. This is really helpful to us as otherwise we have to send you letters in the post which can make the registration process longer. We will only use your email and phone number to contact you about voter registration or election matters. We won't give it to anyone else, or use it for any other purpose.

Why does everyone have to register individually?

Registering individually encourages people to take individual responsibility for their own vote. In the previous system everyone was included in an annual canvass form which was completed by one member of the household. This meant that sometimes people were missed off the form and not registered, or details were incorrect. By registering individually each person can enter their own details.

Can I register at two addresses?

Normally people are registered at one address - their permanent home address. Students may register at both their term-time address and their non-term-time address. If you are living somewhere temporarily but have a permanent address elsewhere, you should register at the permanent address.

If you have a second home you can register there if you consider that you have a 'considerable degree of permanence'. Ownership of a second home that is used only for recreational purposes would not meet the residency qualification. Ownership of a second home that a voter pays council tax on but is not resident in does not qualify them to be registered to vote in that area. If you are unsure if you can register at your second home then you should contact the Electoral Services Office.

What is a postal vote? Can I have one?

A postal vote means that, at election time, your ballot papers are sent to you by post and you also return them by post. Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station.

If you wish to vote by post then you can request an application form when you register to vote, or you can download an application form from The Electoral Commission website.

You must complete the application form before you can have a postal vote. We need your signature and date of birth so that we can check these when you return your postal vote at election time.

What is the open register?

The open register is an extract of the electoral register which includes the names and addresses of anyone who has not opted out. It is not used for elections and can be bought by any person, company or organisation.

If you do not want your information to be sold then you need to opt out of the open register by ticking the box on your application form.

Does my information get sold to other people/organisations?

If you do not want your information to be sold then you need to opt out of the open register by ticking the box on your application form.

We keep two versions of the register - the electoral register and the open 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, calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.

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.

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 or your credit rating.

Why should I register to vote? What's in it for me?

Being registered to vote means that you can have your say at election time by voting for the people you feel best represent you. You can vote for:

  • your local Member of Parliament (MP) who represents the area in the House of Commons where decisions are made that affect the whole of the UK
  • your local Councillors who play an important part of ensuring their community's needs are met by making sure that the council aims to work closely with its communities to improve the quality of life for all its resident
  • your Kent County Councillor who represents your area at a County level
  • the Police and Crime Commissioner who oversees how crime is tackled in Kent
  • In some areas Parish Councillors who make some local decisions and provide some local facilities

By being registered to vote you are able to have an active say in national and local politics and make your views known through the ballot box. Remember - if you're not registered you can't vote.

Being registered to vote will also improve your credit rating making it easier to apply for mortgages and mobile phones.