Why you should register to vote
- The electoral register is used by credit reference agencies to check your name and address if you are applying for credit.
- If your name is not on the register, you may not be able to obtain credit, a mortgage or a mobile phone contract
- Schools may use the electoral register to check that you live within the their catchment area
- We may check the register when you request a resident’s parking permit.
- It is a criminal offence to refuse to complete the registration form or to give false information, carrying a fine of up to £1,000.
Who can register to vote
You can register to vote if you are 16 years of age and over, resident in the UK and you are:
- a UK citizen
- a qualifying Commonwealth citizen
- a citizen of the Irish Republic
- a citizen of the European Union (EU)
- not legally excluded from voting.
If you are a citizen of an EU country other than the Republic of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus you are not entitled to vote in UK parliamentary elections, but you are eligible to vote in European parliamentary, local council and mayoral, London Assembly and London mayoral elections.
Expatriate UK citizens
If you are living outside the UK, you may register to vote in UK and European parliamentary elections for up to 15 years since you were last registered on the electoral register at a UK address or as a service elector.
The way you register to vote is changing
The head of a household has always been responsible for registering everyone who lives there. However under a new system which is being rolled out by the government, you must register as an individual.
You should have received a letter in July or August. The letter tells you whether you have been moved automatically, or whether you need to register on the new system.
Find out more about the changes to how you register to vote on the Government's website
If you are not registered to vote
If your details have changed
You should update the electoral register:
- every time you move home
- if someone has moved into your home
- if someone has moved out of your home
- if you have changed your name.
The electoral register
We make and keep two versions of the borough’s register of electors – a full version and an edited version.
The full version of the electoral register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. By law, it can only be used for electoral purposes, prevention and detection of crime and checking your identity when you apply for credit. It is a criminal offence to pass it on to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose.
Edited or open register
The edited version of the register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have asked to be excluded from it. It is available for sale and can be used by anyone for any purpose. For example, direct mailing companies may use it to send you information about goods and services.
Removing your details from the public register
You can choose not to have your details on the open register. You should mark your preference when you apply to register to vote.
Inspecting the electoral register
You can inspect the full version of the register at Stratford library
Stores and Archives. To book a one-hour appointment, telephone 0203 373 6881.
You may take handwritten notes but you are not allowed to photocopy pages of the register.
Petitions for a referendum
You can petition us if you would like us to hold a referendum on changing the way Newham is governed (from a directly elected Mayor to a committee system).
Your petition must be signed by at least 5 per cent of those registered to vote in local government elections in the borough. This means that petitions presented between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 will need to have a minimum of 9,630 signatures.
We review the number of signatures needed on 15 February each year in line with the number of people in the electoral register (to make sure that it corresponds with 5 per cent of local government electors). If the number of signatures needed on 15 February 2015 is less than 9,630, the lower number will come into effect as soon as we publish it rather than waiting until 1 April 2015.