The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO) are data controllers who collect and use information about residents to enable us to carry out specific functions for which we are statutorily responsible.
We keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates and their agents, staff employed at an election and the people we need to pay. These may be written down or kept on a computer.
These records may include:
- basic details about you - for example, your name, address, date of birth and nationality
- unique identifiers (such as your NI number)
- scanned application forms & dates of any letters of correspondence
- notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
- your previous or any redirected address
- the other occupants in your home
- If you are over 76 or under 18
- whether you have chosen to opt out of the Open version of the Register of Electors
We will, based on your nationality, include your name on the Electoral Register so that you are able to vote.
It is important that our records are accurate and up-to-date as they will help make sure that our staff are able to provide you with the help, advice or support you need.
How long we keep the information for
The Electoral Registration Officer & Returning Officer need to process your personal data in order to prepare for and conduct elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods and the periods in our retention schedule.
Sharing your data
Occasions when your information needs to be shared include:
- with our printers and software providers, to compile and manage the register, to print your poll cards, postal vote packs and other electoral material
- with registered political parties, elected representatives, candidates, agents and other permitted participants who can use it for electoral purposes only
- with Credit reference agencies, the British Library, UK Statistics Authority, the Electoral Commission and other statutory recipients of the Electoral Register
- details of whether you have voted (but not how you have voted) with those who are entitled in law to receive it after an election
- where the health and safety of others is at risk
- when the law requires us to pass on information under special circumstances, crime prevention or the detection of fraud (e.g.as part of the National Fraud Initiative)
We are required by law to report certain information to appropriate authorities - for example:
- where a formal court order has been issued
- for the prevention or detection of a crime
- to the Jury Central Summoning Bureau indicating those persons who are aged 76 or over and are no longer eligible for jury service
The process of checking citizens’ personal identifiers to ensure eligibility for inclusion in the Electoral Register is overseen by the Cabinet Office via the IER Digital Service.
The Department for Work and Pensions use registration data to verify the identity of new applicants, and the Cabinet Office will inform local authorities when people have moved out of their area.
The Open Register
If your details are in the Open version of the Electoral Register, your name and address can be sold to third parties who may use it for any purpose. The law requires that we make the Open Register available for sale.
You can opt out of this version of the register at any time by emailing email@example.com.
Seeing your records
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you to find out what information is held about you, on paper and computer records. This is known as ‘right of subject access’ and applies to your Electoral Services records along with all other personal records.
If you wish to see a copy of your records you should contact the Data Protection officer. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.
In certain circumstances access to your records may be limited, for example, if the records you have asked for contain information relating to another person.
The Data Protection Act 2018 allows you other rights; for example, if there is an error in your records you have the right to make sure it is rectified or erased.
You have the right to be told if we have made a mistake whilst processing your data and we will report breaches to the Commissioner.
You can contact the Information Commissioner.