About the electoral register

The Electoral Office maintains two versions of the Electoral Register - the full Register and the edited Register.

The Full Register

A revised version of the full Register is published on 1 December each year and updates are issued on the first working day of each month. If an election is scheduled a revised version is published before the election.

The full Register lists the names and addresses of everyone entitled to vote. Only certain people and organisations are entitled to obtain copies of the full Register and they may only use it for specified purposes. These include:

  • Electoral purposes
  • Crime prevention and detection
  • Checking credit applications

The law specifies who may obtain a copy of the full Register and for what purpose it may be used (The Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2008). It is a criminal offence for it to be passed on to anyone else or be used for any unauthorised purpose. The penalty is a fine of up to level 5 (Currently £5,000).

Issue of the Full Register Free of Charge on Publication

The following automatically receive a copy of the full Register when it is published:

  • The British Library
  • The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
  • The Electoral Commission
  • The Boundary Commission

Issue of the Full Register Free of Charge upon Request

The following are entitled to receive a copy of the full Register free of charge upon request:

  • Elected representatives (MPs, MEPs, MLAs and Councillors)
  • Holders of relevant elective offices and candidates
  • Local constituency parties (must be requested by the party nominating officer)
  • Registered political parties
  • Candidates at elections
  • Police forces

Sale of the Full Register

The following are entitled to purchase the full Register:

  • Government Departments
  • Credit Reference Agencies

The cost of the Register is calculated as follows:

  • in data format (csv spreadsheet on CD) - £20 fee plus £1.50 per 1,000 entries (or remaining part of 1,000 entries)
  • in printed form - £10 fee plus £5 per 1,000 entries (or remaining part of 1,000 entries)

Criteria for full Register Requests

Requests for a full Register must be made in writing and should:

  • specify which area is required and if any other documents (overseas elector lists, monthly updates) are also required;
  • specify whether only the current version is required or if subsequent versions will also be required;
  • specify whether the documents are to be supplied in paper or data format (the Register will automatically be issued in data format if paper format is not requested).

The Register may be purchased from Headquarters (for the whole of Northern Ireland) or Area Offices (for the area covered by that office). See the Contact Us page for contact details and a list of areas covered by each office.

Inspection of the Full Register in Person

The full Register may be inspected in person at any Area Office. Only the current Register is available for inspection.

Inspection of the full Register is carried out under supervision. The period of time allocated to each individual for inspection of the register may be limited to one visit per week for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time. A person inspecting the full register may not make copies of any part of it or record any information contained in it except by hand-written notes.

Copies of the full Register for the last 15 years are held by the Electoral Office for the purpose of checking overseas elector applications but only the current register is available for public inspection. If a person requires confirmation that they were listed on one of these registers, written confirmation may be obtained from the relevant Area Office.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) holds registers dated prior to this which are available for public inspection. The British Library in London holds copies of all UK electoral registers and these are also available for public inspection.

The Edited Register / Open Register

A revised version of the edited Register (also known as the 'Open Register') is published on 1 December each year and in advance of an election. Monthly updates to the edited Register are not published.

The edited Register omits the names and addresses of people who have asked to be excluded from that version of the Register, either by ticking the Edited Register box on the registration form or submitting a request to have their details removed from this Register (this may be done by sending an email to info@eoni.org.uk).

Two thirds of those listed on the full Register choose to have their details omitted from the edited version. If your details are included in the edited Register they will be available to websites such as 192.com and other organisations for commercial purposes. You may receive more junk mail if your details are included in the edited Register.

Sale of the Edited Register

The edited Register is available for sale to any person or organisation for any purpose. It may be purchased from Headquarters (for the whole of Northern Ireland) or Area Offices (for the area covered by that office). See the Contact Us page for contact details and a list of areas covered by each office.

Inspection of the Edited Register in Person

The edited Register may be inspected in person at any Area Electoral Office. Only the current Register is available for inspection. Persons inspecting the edited register may copy it in any way they wish. Inspection of the edited register is not supervised.

Edited registers are destroyed once a new version is published.

The Marked Register

The marked register is the polling station register on which a mark has been placed against the name of every person to whom a ballot paper has been issued.

Supply of the Marked Register

A copy of the marked register may be supplied free of charge to police forces and other law enforcement agencies but only if they have previously inspected the marked register. No other organisation is entitled to be supplied with a free copy of the marked register.

Sale of the Marked Register

Any person entitled to be supplied with a copy of the full register (see above) may purchase a copy of the marked register. The fee payable is the same as the fee for the full register. No other person or organisation is entitled to purchase the marked register. Anyone wishing to purchase the marked register should email info@eoni.org.uk.

Any purchased copies of the marked register may only be used for the same purpose for which the full register would be used by the recipient, or for research or electoral purposes. Any free copies provided to police forces and other law enforcement agencies can only be used for the purpose of the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the criminal law. The restrictions on use of the full register apply equally to the marked register.

Inspection of the Marked Register in Person

Any person may make a request to the Chief Electoral Officer to inspect a copy of the marked register. The request must be made in writing and must specify:

  • the area to be inspected;
  • the purposes for which the information will be used;
  • the reason why inspection of the full register would not meet the needs of the requestor;
  • the name of the person who will make the inspection;
  • the date on which they wish to make the inspection; and
  • whether they would prefer to inspect a copy of the marked register in printed or data form.

Inspection of the marked Register is carried out under supervision. A person inspecting the marked register may not make copies of any part of it or record any information contained in it except by hand-written notes.