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 your details 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

Changing your name

An existing elector can apply to change their name on the register either by submitting a change of name request or by making a new application to register to vote.  To submit a change of name request, please contact us for the relevant form.  Please note you will be required to supply evidence (a copy, not the original document) of your name change. 

Changing your 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. 

Changing your nationality 

If you have changed your nationality, you must contact us because your nationality can affect which elections you can vote in.  We may ask you to supply us with evidence of your nationality (a copy, not the original document) or you may need to make a new application to register to vote. 

Public inspection of the full register 

You can inspect the full register, under supervision, during opening hours at County Hall in Dorchester.  Please book an appointment to view the full register - you will not be able to inspect the register without an appointment.  You will be required to sign a declaration that you have read and understood the regulations in relation to the access and use of the full electoral register for our records.  If possible, please print and complete this form and bring it with you.

In accordance with the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (as amended), your attention is drawn to the following:

  • the full electoral register is open to public inspection under supervision and contains the names of all those registered to vote
  • information from the full register may be recorded only by making hand written notes.  Photocopying or electronic recording are not permitted by law 
  • information taken from the full register must not be used for direct marketing purposes (as per Section 11(3) of the Data Protection Act 1998), unless the information has also been published in the open version of the register.  The open version of the register is also available for inspection

Under the Regulations referred to above, anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence.  The penalty is a fine of up to level 5 (currently £5,000).

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

If your details are incorrect or your name is not included in the register – or if you believe another entry is incorrect – please contact the elections team immediately.

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.