The electoral and open register
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The electoral and open register

Like all local authorities, we keep two registers - the electoral register and the open register (previously known as the edited register).

The electoral register
This lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections and is also used for calling people for jury service, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit. It is not sold on to anyone. Credit reference agencies may only use it to check the customer's name and address if applying for credit and for other purposes specified in law.

The open register
This is an extract of the electoral register but it is not used for elections. It may be purchased in whole or in part by any person, company or organisation. Everyone has the right to opt out of the open register and remain on the electoral register. This means you will still be able to vote and credit reference agencies can still access your entry but the details we hold will not be sold. If you do not register at all, this may affect your ability to get credit as well as meaning you will not be able to vote and you may be fined.


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Click to expandWho uses the electoral register?

​-Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.

-Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.

-The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.

-The register is used when calling people for jury service.

-Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.

-Credit-reference agencies can buy the register to help them check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.

-It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.

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Click to expandWho uses the open register?

Businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online.

Businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers 

Charities and voluntary agencies, for example to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other charities, to help with fundraising and contacting people who have made donations.

Debt-collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors.

Direct-marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists 

Landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants

Local councils when identifying and contacting residents online

Directory firms to help users of the websites find people, such as when reuniting friends and families​

Organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies

Private-sector firms to verify details of job applicants​​

Click to expandHow do I opt out of the open register?

​To opt out of the open register please fill out and send us the 'Open register opt out form'.

You can fill this in online and email it back to us at electors@leeds.gov.uk or print it and return it by post to:

Electoral Services
Level 2
Town Hall
The Headrow
Leeds  LS1 3AD​ ​​​​​

Click to expandHow do I change my name/address?

​All you have to do to change your name or address is to re-register through the government's Register to Vote page. ​

Click to expandWhy do you sell the open register?

The law allows anyone to buy a copy of the open register (also known as the edited register) for a fee. You have the right to ask for your details to be removed from the open register.

Before November 2001 the full electoral register could be sold to anyone for a fee. A ruling by the high court resulted in a change the law on the use of personal information on the electoral register.

The high court ruling confirmed that it was unlawful to sell copies of the register to private businesses without giving people a choice not to have their information used in this way.

The open register (also known as the edited register) has been in place since 2002. Since 2002 electors have had to make a choice about whether to opt-out of the open register (previously referred to as the edited register). All households were sent a canvass form every year listing everyone who was registered. Each person on the form had to make their choice every year and tick a box on the form if they wanted to opt out of the edited register.

From now on, your open register choice will continue until you tell us that you wish to change it (unless you change address – then you would have to make a fresh registration application and open register choice). ​

Click to expandCan I stop my personal details being sold or used for direct marketing?

The website of the Information Commissioner’s Office contains information for the general public on how individuals can stop their personal information being used for any sort of direct marketing. 

Opting out of the open register will not stop you getting unwanted phone calls or emails because the register does not contain email addresses or phone numbers. The open register does contain your postal address.

Opting out now will not necessarily mean that nobody has your details anymore.  It only means that your name and address will not be on the open register in the future. If you were on the open register before, anyone who has already bought the open register will have those details. ​

Information Commissioners office

Click to expandViewing and purchasing the register

The full register can be viewed by the public at Leeds Town Hall or the Central Library under supervision. Handwritten notes can be taken but not photocopies or electronic recordings.

The open register can be purchased and the costs are:

-​Sale of paper copy of electoral register - per 1000 (or part of 1000) electors: £5.00

-Administration fee for producing paper copy of the Register (per request): £10.00

-Sale of digital copy of electoral register - per 1000 (or part of 1000) electors: £1.50

-Administration fee for producing data copy of the Register (per request): £20.00​

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