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Privacy notice for electoral registration

We use personal data to enable us to carry out specific functions, for which we are statutorily responsible, in accordance with data protection law.

The data controller for the information outlined in this privacy notice is the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and Returning Officer (RO).


We collect and keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates, agents, staff employed for registration, canvass and elections and booking contact details. These may be written down (manual records) or kept on a computer (electronic records).

These records may include:

  • basic details about you such as your name, previous name, address and previous address
  • your nationality, date of birth
  • email addresses and telephone numbers
  • unique identifiers (such as your National Insurance number)
  • signatures for absent vote checking
  • 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
  • other occupants in your home
  • if you are over 76 or under 18
  • if you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register
  • additional evidence provided to confirm your identity (such as copies of your passport, marriage certificate or driving licence)

In addition, if you work for the RO on election duties of for the ERO for registration duties these may also include:

  • bank details
  • car registration details
  • details of previous employment
  • confirmation and proof of eligibility to work in the UK
  • tax status
  • gender

If you are a candidate at an election, an appointed agent at an election or a campaigner we may also hold these details:

  • political party affiliation
  • campaign group affiliation

We collect your personal data for the following purposes:

  • to undertake our statutory obligation to ensure that all eligible persons in Waverley are registered to vote and to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year
  • to employ staff at certain periods of the year to assist residents in registering to vote
  • to enable all registered electors to participate as voters in elections or referendums
  • to enable eligible persons to stand as candidates in elections in accordance with statutory requirements
  • to deliver elections and referendums and fulfil their statutory responsibilities; and
  • to employ staff to work at polling stations, count and postal vote processes and for other specified duties

The information that we collect is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest and exercise of official authority as vested in the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations.

Some of the information that we collect is classified as special category personal data. This is processed for reason of substantial public interest as set out in Representation of the People Act 1983 and associated regulations and complies with our data protection policies.

The legal basis for processing your data

The collection and retention of data from individuals and inspection of other council records is governed by legislation (including):

  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Juries Act 1972
  • Representation of the People Act 1983, 1985 and 2000
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001
  • Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006
  • Local Elections (Principal Areas)(England and Wales) Rules 2006
  • Electoral Administration Act 2006
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
  • The Electoral Registration (Disclosure of Electoral Registers) Regulations 2013
  • Elections Act 2022

The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an ERO when requested. This is for the compilation and maintenance of an accurate electoral register. Records are kept for:

  • potential electors who need to register to vote
  • non-eligible citizens so we can stop inviting them to register
  • electors who have registered to vote.

Returning Officers have statutory duties to collect and retain information from:

  • candidates and their agents
  • staff employed at an election
  • voters.

This information may be kept in either digital format (ie data within a software system or as scanned copies of documents) or hard copy printed format or both.

The lawful basis for employing individuals to work on elections/canvasses is to facilitate the process whereby the RO/ERO fulfils their statutory duties as outlined in the laws above.

We are required by law to provide copies of the full register of electors to certain organisations and individuals (such as political parties, agents, candidates and some government organisations like the Electoral Commission and the Office for National Statistics). They may use it for their own reasons which are different to ours, but they still have to look after the data contained in the register in the same way that we do.

To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service (IERDS) which is managed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. As part of this process, your data will be shared with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities suppliers that are data processors for the IERDS. Register to vote privacy notice

As part of the electoral register annual canvass, the Electoral Registration Officer will send your name, previous name, date of birth and address to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Department of Work and Pensions. This data matching step will take place at the start of every canvass.

To produce Voter Authority Certificates, the data you provide will be processed by the ERO Portal which is managed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The data we will share includes your electoral registration details (name, address and elector number) and your photograph.

The information provided in absent vote applications (postal and proxy applications) will be processed by the ERO Portal which is managed by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Your data will be shared with the DWP to verify your identity.  

Documentary evidence provided to support your application to register to vote or apply for an absent vote or a Voter Authority Certificate (e.g. copy of passport, driving licence or EEA Identity Card), may be used for any registration or voting purpose to determine eligibility. Documentation will be destroyed in line with the retention schedule.  

If you have not opted out of being included on the open register, by law your information on the open register can be shared with anyone who requests it. They may use it for their own reasons which are different to ours. Difference between the full and open register.

In accordance with law, the full register of electors must be made available for public inspection. It is available to be viewed by any member of the public at the Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. People who inspect the register must be supervised by a member of staff and are only allowed to take handwritten notes. They are not allowed to take copies or photographs of the register.

Both the full and open registers are comprised of names and addresses. They do not contain any phone numbers or email addresses.

We are required by law to provide copies of the marked register, which details whether you have voted (but not how you have voted) to those who are entitled in law to receive it after an election.

Other occasions when your information needs to be shared include:

  • with our printers and software providers, to compile and manage the register, to print poll cards, postal vote packs and other electoral material
  • with credit reference agencies, the British Library and other statutory recipients of the register of electors
  • 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 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
  • to law enforcement agencies 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

Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential and safe.

The ERO & RO 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 retention periods in our retention schedule.

We are required by law (The Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006) to retain candidate nomination papers for candidates standing in elections for no longer than 12 months after the election, following which the documents are securely destroyed.

Home address forms provided by candidates are retained for a period of 21 days after the return of the legal writ or the declaration of the result of the election, following which they are securely disposed of. However, if an election petition relating to the election is presented within the 21 calendar days, the home address forms must be kept securely until the conclusion of the petition proceedings (including any appeal from such proceedings). They must then be securely destroyed on the next working day following the conclusion of the proceedings or appeal.

We are required by law to retain candidate election expenses documents for a period of no more than 2 years from the date on which the expenses are received. At the end of the two year period, the respective candidate can request the return of the expenses documents. Otherwise, the expenses documents will be securely disposed of.

Right to access

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 person records.

You can make a Subject Access Request (SAR) online. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records free of charge, within a month.

Electoral registration data is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (2001).

Right to request rectification and to object

Updates to registration can occur between January and September each year by way of the monthly update process but there are statutory deadlines for receipt of applications and when the amendment comes into effect. Credit reference agencies, elected representatives, local/national political parties receive updates on a monthly basis on request.

You can request to have your name removed from the Open Register which is available for sale to any person for any purpose. The details will be updated in line with the monthly procedure listed above.

There is a "clerical error" provision to amend the register up to 9pm on polling day in accordance with legislation (Section 13B of Representation of the People Act 1983).

Right to withdraw consent

You cannot withdraw your details from the Full Register of Electors as you have a legal obligation to provide information about registration to the ERO, (Representation of the People (England & Wales) Regulations 2001 Part 3 Reg 23). However, you can remove your details from the Open Register which can be sold to anyone for any purpose.

There is no provision in law to amend a register retrospectively once it has been published.

Personal information cannot be removed retrospectively from Notices already published; please see retention schedule for more information.

If you have provided the ERO/RO with email/telephone details and no longer wish them to be used to contact you, you can advise the Electoral Services Team by email/letter/telephone and it will be actioned within 5 working days. Please note that these contact details are never passed on or published anywhere and are purely used to contact you if there is a problem with your registration.

Right to erasure (right to be forgotten)

This right does not apply where the lawful basis for processing your personal information is the performance of a public task (such as the maintaining of the electoral register) or where your personal information is necessary for archival in the public interest e.g. you cannot ask the ERO to remove you from ‘old/historical’ electoral registers since your inclusion on those registers originated from a legal obligation. However, you can request that information collected on grounds of consent (for example, where you give consent to the use of your email address) is deleted or removed at any time.

The RO is required to publish notices relating to an election. Although you could not use the ‘right to be forgotten’ to require that your details be removed from statutory notices, you can exercise the right to have your details removed from notices the RO has made available on Waverley Borough Council’s website after the election if the deadline for the election petition had passed (when the notices serve no further purpose). The RO will either remove the notices from the website, or remove your personal information contained in these notices once the petition deadline for that election has passed.

Right to lodge a complaint

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Report a concern on the ICO website

More information

Data Controller: Robin Taylor, ERO/RO
Address: Electoral Services, Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1HR
Tel:01483 523116

See Waverley's full Privacy policy

How to make complaints, compliments and suggestions

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). Report a concern on the ICO website