The Electoral Registration Officer
The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) is an official appointed by the local authority to prepare and maintain the Register of Electors. The ERO for Ayrshire is Helen McPhee who was appointed by a sub group of the Board from North Ayrshire Council, East Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council and took up the Post on the 30th September 2013.
The Register of Electors
The Register of Electors contains details of everyone who has registered to vote. It is used to determine who can vote at elections while the Register is in force.
A new Register is published at least once a year, no later than 1st December. A revised version may be published at other times if, for example, major changes are made to the Register in the course of the year.
Updates to the Register
The register is updated on a monthly basis to reflect changes in people’s circumstances as they occur. For example, if you move house and notify the Electoral Registration Officer of the change early in March, your name could be added to the Register on 1 April.
Individual Electors may make application for Registration during the year. The form should be completed for the address at which they are normally resident on the "relevant date" The relevant date is the date the applicant signs the form.
Applications received by the Registration Officer will then be processed as required by the legislation. It is important that Electors make their applications when moving house, for example, as early as possible after the event. The statutory time-scale may not permit the application in time for the Elector to be added to the Register in time for pending elections.
[ Go to our Download page for a list of forms from which you may select an application form to register to vote. Please note that the form must be printed out, completed and signed, and then posted or delivered to the ERO. ]
Normally after the September update, there are no further monthly updates until January. The suspension of updates allows the annual canvass of households to take place. However this year updates will continue for the months October, November and December. The delayed Canvass will start early October and Electoral registration forms will be posted to each household requesting details of eligible residents. The information obtained during the canvass then goes forward to the new Register which will be published no later than 10th March 2014. This year the Canvass will include a Young Persons registration form to capture any eligible young person that will be 16 by the 18th September 2014 in order that they may vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum.
The annual Electoral Canvass is the principal way by which the Electoral Registration Officer ingathers information for the Register. In Ayrshire, there are approximately 179,500 households (5 Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies, 4 UK Parliamentary Constituencies), each of which is subject to an annual Electoral Canvass, all properties will receive a voter registration form, known as canvass form, so that the householder can complete and return it to the Electoral Registration Officer.
If you receive your Registration forms and all names on the forms are correct then you can register by using the Freephone service - the number will be pre-printed on the form - or you can use the register by internet service. The website address for this service, is http://www.registerbyinternet.com/avjb (Note: this address is available ONLY during the annual canvass period). If you require to notify us of any changes please return the Registration forms as quickly as possible to stop reminder forms being issued.
Persons registered in households from which the canvass form has not been returned run the risk of having their names removed from the register as a legal requirement. Removal from the register would mean the loss of the ability to vote.
To qualify to be registered to vote you must be resident or deemed resident in the registration area and be a British, other Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen aged 18 or over (16 and 17 year-olds can register but cannot vote until they are 18) and not subject to any legal incapacity.
Citizens of the European Union may only register as local government and Scottish Parliamentary electors in the first instance. If they so wish, they can also register as European Parliamentary electors by completing the appropriate form.
[ Go to our Download page for a list of forms from which you can select an application to register as a European Parliamentary elector. Please note that the form must be printed out, completed and signed, and then posted or delivered to the ERO. ]
European Union citizens do not have the right to vote at UK Parliamentary elections.
British citizens resident abroad can register to vote by means of an Overseas Elector’s Declaration, provided that on the date the Declaration is made:
- they are not subject to any legal incapacity to vote
they were once registered to vote in the UK and less than 15 years have elapsed
since the Register they were on was in force
- a parent or guardian was so registered, if the applicant was too young to register to vote at the time.
An overseas elector can vote by post or proxy.
The Declaration lasts for 12 months and then lapses if not renewed by the elector. The ERO is obliged to send a reminder and a new application form to the elector between 9 and 10 months from the date on which the entry on the Register took effect.
[ Go to our Download page for a list of forms from which you may select an application form to register as an overseas elector. Please note that the form must be printed out, completed and signed, and then posted or delivered to the ERO. ]
The Absent Voters’ List
The Electoral Registration Officer also maintains a list of people who are entitled to vote by post or by proxy. This is known as the Absent Voters’ List.
Postal voting is available to anyone, whatever the circumstances.
[ Go to our Download page for a list of forms from which you may select a postal voting application form. Please note that the form must be printed, completed and signed, and then posted or delivered to the ERO. ]
Long-term proxy voting is available to people who cannot reasonably be expected to attend their polling station at elections because:
- they suffer from a physical incapacity
- their employment duties take them away from home
- their attendance on a course of study takes them away from home
Temporary proxy voting is available to people who cannot reasonably be expected to attend their polling station at elections because they will be away from home temporarily on the date of the election.
[ Go to our Download page for a list of forms from which you may select the appropriate proxy voting application form for your circumstances. Please note that forms must be printed, completed and signed, and then posted or delivered to the ERO. ]
Checking the Register
The Register of Electors is a public document and displayed widely throughout the registration area at public libraries, local council offices and at the office of the ERO. For a list of Publication offices see file at the bottom of this page.
If you are unable to find your name in the Register of Electors, or if you are unable to check the Register personally, contact the ERO for assistance. For privacy reasons, Registration staff are unable to disclose Register information over the telephone, but will be happy to write to you to confirm your details if you wish.
The electoral register has the names and addresses of everyone who can vote and you have to provide your name and address to be included in the register.
Anyone can see the electoral register at the electoral registration office, their local council offices or public libraries. However, only certain organisations can have the information. These include election officers, political parties, law enforcement officers and credit reference agencies.
Until now any company or individual could buy a copy of the register – but the Government has changed how people can have access to the register because of concerns about how name and address details are used.
You now have some choice about the extent to which your name and address can be made available to others. The changes made by the Government introduce two versions of the register, the full version and the edited version.
The two versions of the register
The full register has the names and address of everyone registered to vote. Anyone can see it at the electoral registration office, their local council offices or public libraries. The register can only be used for certain purposes, such as elections and law enforcement. Credit reference agencies are also allowed to use the full register, but only to check the names and addresses of those who want credit. The full register will be updated monthly and anyone who has a copy will be committing a criminal offence if they unlawfully disclose information which is only contained in this register.
The edited register will be available for sale and can be used for any purpose. You can choose not to be on this list. It will be kept separate from the full register and will also be updated monthly.
The choice you have to make
As in previous years, this year’s annual canvass voter registration form will include a section whereby each individual can opt-out from having their name printed on an edited register.
If you do not tick the box on the annual canvass voter registration form, in addition to the full register, your name will appear on the edited version of the register, which can be sold to anyone. This allows unrestricted access to your name and address from the electoral register.
The person who fills in and signs the registration form must check with each person listed on it to see if they want their details to be made available for sale through the edited register.
If you do tick the box on the annual canvass voter registration form, your name and address
will only appear on the full register, which can only be used for certain purposes, such as elections and
( You cannot refuse access to the register for credit reference checking. )
Electoral Wards - click here to find your current Ward.