Individual electoral registration

The individual electoral registration (IER) system was introduced by government in June 2014 to help address concerns over potential electoral fraud.

To be registered to vote under individual electoral registration:

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  • Each person’s identity needs to be verified before they can be registered to vote.
  • New electoral registration applications can only be done individually, so each person is responsbile for their own registration.
  • Each applicant must give their date of birth and national insurance number, in addition to their name, address, previous address, and nationality.
  • Each applicant’s details are checked against other records to verify their identity before the registration office can approve their application. 
  • If a person’s name, date of birth and national insurance number are not verified after they have applied to be registered, the electoral registration office contacts the applicant. They are then asked to either clarify any element of their application, or to provide documentary evidence, such as a passport, to support their application.
  • Anyone wanting to vote by post or by proxy at an election must first have registered under Individual Electoral Registration and then apply separately to vote by post or proxy by the legal deadline in the election timetable.
  • A person who received a letter from our electoral registration team in 2014 saying they had automatically been added to the new register and previously had a postal vote, could continue to vote by post while their registration details remained unchanged.
  • Some people may have received a letter in 2014 saying that they needed to apply under Individual Electoral Registration to be added to the new register. Anyone who did not apply would have automatically lost any postal or proxy voting arrangements they may have had. 
  • Anyone not registered to vote must apply to register first under the new system and then apply separately to vote by post. 

Easy read information has been produced by The Electoral Commission.

Under the new IER system, householders are required to complete a household form, now called the household enquiry form (HEF) every year.

The form is an important way of making sure the register of electors is kept up to date.

Every summer since 2015 we have sent at least one household enquiry form (HEF) to every address.

From the information supplied on these HEF forms, we identify potential new electors. They are then sent an invitation to register (ITR) form to encourage them to become individually registered to vote.

Electoral registration can now be done online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you prefer to complete a paper application, please contact us to request one.

For the transitional period from the old registration system to individual electoral registration:

  • Every elector on the electoral register had their name and address checked against government records in order to verify the majority of people at the start of the move to individual registration in June 2014.
  • The checks were done through a government secure system that had been tested thoroughly.
  • After each person’s identity had been checked, the majority of electors had their identity “confirmed” and were sent a letter explaining this. 

Confirmed electors

Each elector whose details were matched against government records were sent a letter in July 2014 advising that their identity had been confirmed and that they did not need to do anything more about their registration unless their circumstances later changed, such as moving home or changing their name.

Unconfirmed electors

Each elector whose identity was not matched against other records was sent an invitation in July 2014 to make a fresh application to register as an elector.

  • They were given an individual application form, and asked either to complete and return the form or to register on-line.
  • Those who did not respond were sent a reminder, and we also visited their home address to encourage them to register.
  • People who did not respond to these invitations may have ended up not being registered to vote at elections.
  • Some households had a mix of confirmed and unconfirmed electors.  This was expected because of the nature of the other records being used to verify people’s identity. 
  • Each unconfirmed elector needed to make a fresh application to register to vote.

If you have any queries about the changes you can either access more information at www.yourvotematters.co.uk, or you can contact Cornwall Council’s IER Team at voter-registration@cornwall.gov.uk or telephone 0300 123 1115.