Register to vote

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in all UK elections and referendums. You are not automatically registered even if you pay council tax. If you receive a request for your registration information from your local electoral registration office, then you are legally obliged to respond. If you do not respond, or if you provide false information then you could receive a fine.

You need to be included on the Electoral Register if you are:

  • 18 and over
  • British, Irish, European or qualifying commonwealth Citizen Living in the UK

If you are not on the Electoral Register, you will not be able to vote on polling day. You will also find it hard to get credit, a mobile phone contract or open a bank account. If you are unsure whether you are registered, please contact us - details at the foot of this page.

Online applications to register

You can apply to register online, which is the simplest and fastest way:

Please note: that applications are individual and you will need to include your National Insurance Number and date of birth as part of your application. If you cannot provide them, please state the reason why.  Your application will be acknowledged and if your application is successful we will tell you when you will be added to the register.

Other applications to register

If you cannot make an online application, please contact us for an application form - details at the foot of this page.

Service voters

You can also register online as a service voter or as a British Citizen living overseas. Before registering as a service voter please visit the:

Voting by post

Anyone who is registered to vote can ask for a postal vote. Then your ballot paper will be posted to you to fill in and return:

Applications may be made at any time, but must be received no later than 5pm on the 11th working day before election day.

Voting by proxy

It is possible to let someone else vote for you. This is called a ‘proxy vote’. The person you choose must vote for the candidate you want.  When you apply you must give a reason for needing a proxy vote, for example because of holiday or work reasons. Applications must be received by 5pm on the sixth working day before a particular election day. Please contact us for an application.

Medical and employment emergencies and proxy votes

Applications for a proxy vote because of a medical emergency or for work reasons can be made until 5pm on polling day, provided the reason happened after the deadline for applying to vote by proxy. For more information about making an emergency proxy appointment, and for an application form, please contact us. For further advice on electoral registration and postal or proxy voting, or to request an application form to appoint a proxy, please contact the Elections team.

Your personal details - the electoral register

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
  • calling people for Jury Service
  • checking credit applications

The open register

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed.  Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

The annual electoral canvass

The annual canvass is carried out each autumn. We send a compulsory ‘household enquiry form’ to every property in Forest of Dean to find out who needs to be added to, or removed from, the Register of Electors.

It's a legal requirement to respond to this form and you need to reply each year as this confirms who is living at your address. It is not a voter registration form.

Voting information and help

For further general information about registering to vote, please visit the: