All you need to know about voter registration, deadlines and eligibility


As the General Election looms, so does the deadline for people to register to vote.

Here, the PA news agency looks at who can register, how, and which parties benefit from late registration campaigns.

– Who is eligible to register?

You can register to vote if you are aged 16 or over, or 14 or over in Scotland.

But you can only vote in a general election when you are 18 or over.

UK, Irish, EU or Commonwealth citizens with a permanent UK address are eligible to register.

– How do you register?

People can register online at, which takes about five minutes.

You can also ask your local Electoral Registration Office to post you a form, which then needs to be completed and returned to the office.

People can vote anonymously if they believe having their name and address on the electoral register could affect their safety.

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To do this, you complete an application form on the Electoral Commission website, provide evidence to support your registration, and return it to your local electoral registration office.

People who will be abroad on election day can apply to vote by proxy after they have registered. To do this, you will need to complete a form found online at and send it back to your local Electoral Registration Office.

A proxy vote means you can ask anyone to vote for you as long as they’re registered to vote and it is for an election they are allowed to vote in.

– What is the deadline?

People have until 11.59pm on November 26 to register to vote in the General Election.

If you want to apply to vote by post in England, Scotland or Wales, you need to register before 5pm on November 26 to receive a postal voting pack.

For the vote to be accepted and considered it must arrive at the Electoral Office in the UK by 10pm on December 12.

The deadline for people to register to vote anonymously is December 4.

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– Do voter register campaigns make any difference?

Joe Twyman, director of DeltapollUK and former head of political and social at YouGov, said: “I haven’t seen the evidence that it makes a difference, to be honest, as far as I know votes tend to jump at the last minute.”

– Which parties benefit from more registrations?

Asked which parties benefit the most from more registrations, Mr Twyman said: “Turnout is usually higher for older people than younger people, but if registrations was designed to boost and encourage young people to vote, and if young people go out and vote, I would say it would benefit Labour.”

– Is there always a late surge?

Political scientist and professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, Sir John Curtice, said: “Of course there is, people get this publicity and they have people everywhere telling them to vote, or to register to vote, and eventually they do.”

He went on to say that register campaigns do not make as much of a difference as some people think, because “most people that apply to go on the register are already on there”.

Sir John added: “I think one issue is, we’ve made it easy for people to register to vote, but not easy for people to check if they’ve already registered.”