Registering to vote – new changes announced

The way that you register to vote is changing with the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER). This means that you will have to register to vote yourself if:

  • you are a new voter, or
  • the details held about you on the current electoral register don’t match with details held on the Department for Work and Pensions database.

This is a change from the current system where one person registers everyone in the household who is eligible to vote

You will be able to register to vote online or by post.

Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) are writing to voters who are already on the current electoral register between 3 July and 10 August 2014 to tell them about the changes to Individual Electoral Registration.

As part of the move, EROs will check the birthdate and National Insurance numbers of people who are already on the electoral register against the information on the DWP database.

If your details match, you will be transferred automatically to IER and there will be no need to do anything. Around 80 per cent of voters on the current electoral register should be transferred automatically.

Where there isn’t a match or only some of your details match, the ERO is also able to look at other databases, such as council tax records, to confirm your identity. If they are unable to confirm the match through other databases, you will be told what information you need to provide to register to vote successfully.

Postal voters

Changes to postal voting will happen before the next General Election in 2015.

If you currently vote by post, your details will be checked against the DWP database. If they match you will be automatically transferred to IER and you will be able to continue to vote this way.

If your details don’t match you will no longer be able to vote by post until you have registered yourself. The letter telling you about the move to IER will tell you how to do this.

If you have not registered yourself to vote by post by at least 12 working days before 7 May 2015, you will not be able vote in this way in the next General Election. However, you will still be able to vote at a polling station if your details are on the current electoral register.

To learn more about Individual Electoral Registration and how to register to vote online, go to

For help from Salford Citizens Advice visit your local bureau in Eccles, Irlam and Cadishead, Salford City, Swinton, Walkden or at Salford Royal.

Telephone our advice line: 0844 826 9695 (if calling from a landline or if calling from a mobile 0300 456 2554). Our phone lines are now open over six days a week, including Saturdays.

Tom Togher.