You must be registered in order to vote. You are not automatically registered, even if you pay Council Tax. There are no elections scheduled at present, but you can still register to vote in advance so as you are prepared.
May 2020 scheduled elections
The Government have announced they plan to postpone the election in May until 2021. We will update this information once the postponement has become law.
All local by-elections have also been postponed.
The annual canvass
During August we send a household enquiry form (HEF) to every household in Newham to find out if the information on the electoral register is up to date.
The form has the Government's 'Your vote matters, don't lose it' logo printed on the envelope.
It is a chance for you tell us if:
- Someone has moved out
- Someone has moved in
- Someone's details have changed
- No one at the property is eligible to register
- The property is empty.
You must respond to the form, even if all the details for your household are correct. The form will tell you how to do this. It will also include a security code in case you decide to respond online, by text or by phone.
If your name is not on the form, you can use the Government's register to vote service, however you must also complete the household enquiry form. If you don't, we will send you reminders until you fill it in.
Register to vote (or update your details)
You can use the Government's register to vote service to:
- Get on the electoral register
- Change your details (your name or address)
Make sure you have your National Insurance number to hand.
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 get credit, a mortgage or a mobile phone contract.
- Schools may use the electoral register to check that you live within 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.
European Union (EU) citizens
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 electoral register
The electoral register is a list of everyone who is entitled to vote. 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.
When we update the electoral register
Between January and September we update the electoral register with any changes on the first working day of the month. This allows you to tell us that your details have changed throughout the year.
Between September and December we close the register while we hold our annual review. We publish the revised electoral register on 1 December.
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 020 3373 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.
The number that is equal to 5% of the number of local government electors shown in the revised register of electors having effect on 15 February 2020 is 11,100.
This figure will have effect for the purposes of determining the validity of Petitions presented from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.
The number equal to 5% of the local government electors for 2020 will be published within 14 days of 15 February 2020. If this number is less than 11,100, the number to be used for verification purposes in relation to any petition submitted for the period beginning on the date of publication of the lower number until 31 March 2021 shall also be that lower number.
Due to the postponement of all elections and referenda in 2020, the earliest possible date to hold a referendum would be May 2021.