The electoral roll

The electoral roll, or register, lists all those who have registered to vote in a certain area. Its purpose is to aid the electoral process and prevent fraud.

The right to vote

The right to vote belongs to all British citizens over the age of eighteen. If a teenager will reach the age of eighteen before the next revision of the register, then they are permitted to register on the electoral roll. British citizens living overseas may continue to register to vote for up to fifteen years since they last registered at a UK address.

Mental patients’ right to vote

Voluntary patients are able to register on the electoral roll at their former address: they can either vote by post or go to the polling station. For detained patients, their right to register (other than at where they are currently detained) depends on where they lived before they were detained. The longer the length of their detention, the less likely it becomes that a previous residence will be accepted and so a patient will not be able to register on the electoral roll.

The Human Rights Act 1998

Protocol 1, Article 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 does not create a right to any specific system of election (examples being ‘first past the post’ and proportional representation which both comply with the Act).

Article 3 can be used in relation to the right to vote by people who find it difficult to register for the vote, such as the homeless.

How and where the electoral roll is compiled

Forms sent out annually to every house compile the electoral roll.

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For more information on:

  • What the electoral roll includes
  • The Electoral Administration Act 2006