How to register to vote
You can now register to vote online. You will need your National Insurance number and date of birth. You can still register without your National Insurance Number but you must explain why you cannot provide it and will normally be asked to provide another form of ID.
You need to be on the electoral register to vote in elections and referendums. The register is a list of people who are eligible to vote in the North Devon area. This list is updated throughout the year to remove people who are no longer in the area or add people who have reached voting age or moved into North Devon. The list is a public document and you must ensure that you are included on it. If your name is not included on the list you will not be able to vote at any elections that take place.
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 their catchment area
- 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
The electoral register
We make and keep two versions of the 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.
Viewing the register of electors
The register of electors for North Devon Council is available for inspection at:
- Lynton House, Barnstaple
- The Ilfracombe Centre
- Amory Centre, South Molton
The register is a public document and has other uses apart from the conduct of elections. The figure for triggering a Mayoral Referendum is calculated from it. It is also used by credit agencies and in its edited form it can be purchased by anyone.
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
Absent Voting - Postal or Proxy Voting
Once you have printed off your form please scan it and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or return it by post to:
North Devon Council
I have become ill or can't get to the Polling Station due to work after the close of proxy voting deadline?
This must be something that you weren't aware of before the normal proxy vote deadline. You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 17:00 on the polling day.
How do I register to vote if I'm at university?
Students can vote using their university or home address. It is legal to be registered in two areas, but a criminal offence to vote in both. If students are already registered at their home address, they could use a postal vote or proxy vote if they are not there on election day.
People who are working away from home or on holiday on election day can also vote by post or proxy, which means nominating someone to cast a vote for you. Your proxy must be aged 18 or over and also registered. If you are suddenly incapacitated or taken ill after the close of proxy applications, you can apply for an emergency proxy up until 17:00 on the polling day.
How do I register to vote if I live abroad?
You can register as an overseas voter if you are a British citizen and have been on a UK electoral register in the past 15 years. You should register in the area where you were registered to vote. In England you can register online to vote by post or by proxy.
What about the armed forces?
Members of the armed forces overseas, or their spouse or civil partner, can register as a service voter or ordinary voter to vote by post or proxy. A service voter means you are registered at a fixed address in the UK for five years.
Can I register to vote if I do not have a fixed address?
If you do not have a permanent address, you can register by filling in a "declaration of local connection" form.
Can I register to vote anonymously?
If you are concerned about your name and address appearing on the electoral register you need to fill in a form and explain why your safety - or that of someone in your household - would be at risk.
Can I get help with registering if I have a learning disability?
The Electoral Commission has produced an "easy-read" version of the registration form in English and Welsh. People with a disability can get help completing an application, but the person who wants to register to vote has to make the declaration.
Petitions for a referendum
Each Local Authority is required to publish a verification number which is the figure representing 5% of the number of local government electors for the authority's area in the revised register of electors having effect on the 15 February 2022. The verification number for the district of North Devon is 3859.
These Regulations make provision in connection with the holding of a referendum on whether a local authority should change to a different form of governance where at least 5% of the local government electors in the authority's area petition the authority. The reason for publishing this information is for the purpose of determining the validity of petitions presented during the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.