How to register on the electoral roll

You are here


You can submit an application to register online. You will need your national insurance number to complete the application. The online application form is supported by Government Digital Services and you will be taken away from the Ipswich Borough Council website.

Register to vote online

Once you have completed the online form your data will be verified and then sent to us to complete the registration.

Registration checklist

In order to register to vote in Ipswich you must:

  • be resident at an address in the borough of Ipswich;
  • be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or of another member state of the European Union (view the full list of eligibility);
  • be over 16 years old (although you cannot vote until your 18th birthday);
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.

If you are a member of the Armed Forces you can choose whether you register as a Service Voter or as an ordinary voter.

Citizens of EU member states who are resident in the England can register to vote in local government elections (Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council elections) but cannot vote in UK parliament elections.

Overseas voters

British citizens, which includes Irish citizens and citizens of Crown Dependencies,  who have moved abroad on a permanent basis can register to vote as an overseas elector. If you have previously lived or been registered to vote in the UK, you can vote in UK parliament elections. Overseas voters cannot vote in local government elections.

In order to register as an overseas elector in Ipswich you must have been:

  • previously registered to vote in the Ipswich, either before you left the UK or as an overseas voter; or
  • previously resident in Ipswich.

Overseas British citizens must apply to register as a voter using the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK or, if you have never been registered, the last address at which you were resident in the UK.

If you were previously registered you will have to provide details about the address and time you were last registered.

If you previously lived in the UK, but were not registered, you will need to provide details about the address and time where you were last resident.

You can submit your application to register to vote as an overseas elector online:

Register to vote online

Remember to apply for a postal or proxy vote at the same time as you register to vote unless you are planning to be in the UK at the time of an election and therefore can visit a polling station.

Overseas voters need to provide a renewal declaration every three years. This confirms that the details held on the electoral register are accurate and provides an opportunity to update correspondence details if necessary.

How your information is used

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections.

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation.

Electoral register

The electoral register is used for:

  • electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote;
  • other limited purposes specified in law.

The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.

Who 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, 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 electoral 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. They help other organisations to 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.

Open register

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data protection legislation. 

Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register would not affect your right to vote or your credit status. Visit Opting out of the open register if you would like to have your details excluded.

Who uses the open register?

Users of the open register include:

  • 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.

Easy read versions

Mencap and The Electoral Commission have produced some easy read mini accessible guides to registering to vote and voting methods to support people with a learning disability. Click on the links below to access these. You will be taken away from the Ipswich Borough Council website.

Registering to vote

What is voting?

Deciding the best way to vote

Voting by post

Voting by proxy 

Voting at a polling station