The two versions of the register & your right to opt out
There are two registers. Why?
Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (previously known as the edited register).
The electoral register
The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.
The 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. 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 does not affect your right to vote.
Removing your name from the Open Register
The Open (Edited) register has existed since 2002. Application forms have always included a box to tick in order to opt out. The online application form also asks that you tick the box to opt out. If you have not opted out and would like to exclude your name please email firstname.lastname@example.org giving your full name, address and stating that you ‘wish to be removed from the Open register’.
The main use of the full register is to show who can vote at elections and referendums. It can also be used for law enforcement. Sutton Council can use the full register for its statutory functions relating to security, law enforcement and crime prevention. There is more information on this at the Fair data processing notice page.
Credit reference agencies can use the full register but only to check your name and address if you are applying for credit, and for other purposes specified in law. You can ask us if you want more details. There is more information in About My Vote frequently asked questions.
Online register searches
It is possible to search electoral registers using online commercial organisations. However, these organisations are only entitled to be supplied with information on the open register.
You may find that your name appears on an online search despite you telling us that you do not want your name on the edited register. This can happen if your details were passed on to the commercial organisation before you told us that you did not want to be on the edited register. It may be that you have been living at your address before 2002; when there was only one version of the register.
You should contact the commercial organisation if you want your name removed from their online search because your name is not on the up-to-date open register.