The electoral register

Registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral (full) register

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The council has a legal duty to supply copies of the full electoral register to credit reference agencies.

The open (edited) 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’s used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.

You can find more information about both registers on GOV.UK website.

You can check the register in person at either:

  • Dulwich Reference Library, 368 Lordship Lane, SE22 8NB
  • John Harvard Library, 211 Borough High Street, SE1 1JA
  • Peckham Library, Peckham Hill Street, SE15 5JR;
  • the Electoral Services offices at Southwark Town Hall between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday by appointment only
Legally you cannot take any copies of the register, either paper or photographic, although you may take handwritten notes

Opting out of the open register

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.

When you register to vote, you are given the choice to opt out of the open register.

To opt out at a later date, you must make it clear that you wish to opt out of the open register in correspondence, and include your full name and address.

Confirming your registration

We’re not able to contact credit reference agencies direct to discuss your registration status, your application for credit or people previously registered at your address.

If you’re denied credit or are told you have a low credit score because your name is not on the electoral register, you can ask us to check the register, and provide a letter confirming your registration.

Buying a copy of the edited electoral register

To buy a copy of the edited electoral register email the electoral services.

The cost of each copy varies depending on how much of the register you need.

Updating the electoral register

At the end of every year, we need to update the electoral register so that we know how many people in Southwark are registered to vote. 

To do that, every property receives a household enquiry form (HEF) between August and November.

The household enquiry form will contain the names of registered voters we have on record at your address. Every household – whatever the occupiers’ nationality or status – needs to respond confirming whether this information is correct or not. 

This is easy to do, and full instructions will be included on the form. Anyone who is added to a household enquiry form will then need to register to vote separately (the household enquiry form itself isn’t a voter registration form). 

This process is known as the annual canvass.

If you would like information or help on completing the Household Enquiry form (HEF) please follow this link

Confirming that everything is correct

If the information that is pre-printed on the form is correct you still need to respond to confirm that nothing needs to change. You can do this in less than a minute via:

  • freephone 
  • internet
  • SMS text message

You can also complete and return the form via post. Detailed instructions can be found on your form. 

Making changes or adding new names

The quickest way to do this is online. You can also complete and return the form via post. 

Any individuals added to the household enquiry form will need to register to vote on GOV.UK.

If this doesn’t happen, the Electoral Registration Officer will send them a voter registration form. 

Registering or changing details

If you move house or if your details change, you can update your registration at any time of year on the GOV.UK register to vote page. You will receive confirmation in writing, to keep as proof of your registration.   

Last updated: 04 September 2017