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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

The electoral register

About the electoral register 

The electoral register is the list of everyone who is registered to vote. Your details must be included on the register in order for you to be able to vote in elections and referendums. 

View more information about registering to vote.

The full register and the open register

There are two versions of the register :

  • the full register is used for elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit
  • the open register (sometimes also known as the edited register) contains the names and addresses of electors who have not chosen to opt out of the open register. It is available for general sale (see below) and can be used for commercial activities such as marketing

Your details will appear on the full version of the register but you can choose whether or not your details appear on the open register (see below). 

If you would like to check whether you are on the open register, please contact us.

Opting out of the open register

You can ask us to remove your details from the open register at any time. However this will only be effective from the point at which the request is made. If you would like to request removal from the open register, please contact us in writing, quoting your full name and address.

Changing your details on the register

You can change your name and/or nationality on the electoral register. For the relevant form, please contact us. Please note you will be required to supply evidence as follows:

  • change of name - a copy (not the original) of your marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate, amended birth certificate or deed poll document 
  • change of nationality - a copy (not the original) of your UK naturalisation certificate or other country's formal change of nationality certificate

Alternatively, you can simply send us the required evidence along with details of your name (in the case of a change of name, we will need your previous name as well) and address. 

If you have moved home and need to change your address on the electoral register, you will need to register to vote again at your new address. 

Inspect the register of electors

Our offices are closed because of COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 our council's offices at South Walks House in Dorchester are closed.

This means you cannot inspect the full register at the moment. If you want us to let you know when you can inspect the register again email

When our offices at South Walks House are open again you can inspect a copy of the full register under supervision during working hours. You do not need to make an appointment.

You will be required to sign a form for our records and you can only make hand-written notes of the register; photocopying, photographing or electronic recording are not permitted.

Information taken from the full register must not be used for direct marketing purposes unless the information has also been published in the open version of the register. Failure to observe the above conditions may result in a fine of up to £5,000.

Community groups or organisations (who are not named in legislation) may not use information taken from the full register for their elections, referendums or surveys. 

The register is compiled in order of polling district and, within this, alphabetically by street name.

You may also inspect the open register.

Purchasing the open register

The open register can be purchased by any person, company or organisation.   

The cost of the open register is based on the format required and the number of records to be purchased. The cost is set out in legislation and is the same across the United Kingdom. The fees for sale of the open register are:

  • in data format, £20 plus £1.50 per 1,000 entries (or remaining part of 1,000 entries) in it
  • in printed format, £10 plus £5 per 1,000 entries (or remaining part of 1,000 entries) in it

To enquire about buying a copy, or part of the open register, please contact us.

How your data might be used

Find out how the register of electors affects your ability to get credit.

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General data protection regulation (GDPR)

We will only use the personal information supplied by you in accordance with GDPR. By giving us this information you are consenting to such use as set out in our privacy notice.