Elections and electoral registration
Part One – Electoral Registration
Why we are collecting your data
The Electoral Registration Officer is a data controller and collects the personal data you provide for the purpose of registering your right to vote. You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. We have a duty to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year. We will only collect the personal data we need from you, in order to do this.
What is the legal basis for processing this data?
We do this in the performance of a task carried out in the public interest and in the exercise of our official duty under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 and Representation of the People Regulations 2001.
This ensures you are registered to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an electoral registration officer for inclusion in the full register.
We keep records about potential and actual voters, citizens, candidates, election agents and staff employed at elections. These may be written down, or kept on a computer.
The records may include:
- your name, address, nationality and date of birth
- unique identifiers (such as National Insurance Number), signatures for absent vote checking
- scanned application forms, documentary evidence and any letters of correspondence
- notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us
- your previous or any redirected address
- the other occupants in your home
- if you are over 75 or under 18
- whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register.
Who will your information be shared with?
The information you provide is held in the electoral register which is managed by the Electoral Registration Officer who, using information received, keeps two registers – the full electoral register and the open (edited) register.
The full register is published annually and is updated at various points during the year. By law, it can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:
- British Library
- UK Statistics Authority
- Electoral Commission
- Boundary Commission for England
- Jury Summoning Bureau
- Elected Representatives (MP, MEPS, Local Councillors)
- Police and Crime Commissioner
- Candidates standing for elections
- Local and National Political Parties
- The Council
- Parish and Town councils
- Police Forces and the National Crime Agency
- Public Library or local authority archive services
- Government departments or bodies
- Credit Reference Agencies
- National Fraud Initiative
- Other Electoral Registration and Returning Officers
To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. You can find more information about this on the Government website.
We also disclose (share) your information with our Software providers and printers.
We will not ordinarily send your personal data outside of the European Economic Area. However, if you are an overseas elector, we may write to you at your location, eg to send you a postal vote.
It is a crime for anyone who has a copy of the full register to pass information from this register onto others, if they do not have a lawful reason to see it.
Anyone can inspect the full electoral register:
- inspection of the register will be under supervision
- they can take extracts from the register, but only by handwritten notes
- information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open version
- anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and may be charged a penalty of up to £5,000.
The open register contains the same style of information as the full register, but less of it due to many people ‘opting out’. The open register is not used for elections or referendums. It is updated and published every month and can be sold to any person, organisation or company for a wide range of purposes. It is used by businesses and charities for checking names and address details; users of the register include direct marketing firms and also online directory firms.
You can choose whether or not to have your personal details excluded from the open version of the register; however, your personal details will be included unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register will not affect your right to vote.
The Annual Canvass
At the start of the canvass process each year all Electoral Registration Officers have a legal responsibility to complete a data matching step.
This is to help identify properties where the residents are more likely to have changed since the previous canvassing process. Information obtained will determine the most effective method to be used to canvass the property. For national and local data matching, the match is linked to an individual.
There are two categories of data matching:
1. National data matching (required)
2. Local data matching (optional, if required) against other local authority records held within Rugby Borough Council
What is the legal basis for processing this data?
Local data sets are available to Electoral Registration Officers under their existing powers provided by Regulations 23, 35 and 35A of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 and the Representation of the People (Scotland) Regulations 2001.
How long will we hold the data for?
Once the purpose for obtaining the personal data sets from Rugby Borough Council has expired, Electoral Services will securely destroy the data sets received.
Part Two – Elections
Why collect data?
The Returning Officer is a data controller and collects personal data supplied in preparation for elections or referenda and to support results. We will only collect the personal data required in order to do this.
What is the legal basis for processing this date?
We do this in the performance of a task carried out in the public interest and in the exercise of our official duty under the Representation of the People Act 1985 and the Representation of the People Regulations 2001.
This ensures that elections or referenda are conducted in a robust, fair and transparent way.
We use records kept by the Electoral Registration Officer about potential and actual voters. In addition we compile and use data relating to:
- election candidates
- voters who propose, second or subscribe candidate nomination papers
- election, counting, polling agents and their guests/partners
- political parties and their officials
- staff employed at elections
- contact details for polling stations and count centres
These records may be written down, or kept on a computer.
How long will we hold the data for?
The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process personal data for the preparation of the electoral register and the subsequent organisation of elections or referenda. Personal details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.
You are entitled to request a copy of any information about you that we hold. Any such requests should be made in writing.
If the information we hold about you is inaccurate you have a right to have this corrected and you have the right to request completion of incomplete data.
You have the right to request that we stop, or restrict the processing of your personal data, in certain circumstances. Where possible we will seek to comply with your request, but we may be required to hold or process information to perform our statutory functions.
If you have any worries or questions about how your personal information is handled, please contact our Data Protection Officer at Rugby Borough Council, Town Hall, Evreux Way, Rugby CV21 2RR.
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number. Alternatively, visit ico.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.