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Electoral Registers

Discussion in 'Search tips - discussion' started by Emma, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Emma

    Emma Member

    Just read the latest newsletter from Peter and followed the link on fmp for living relatives which takes you to UK electoral registers 2002-2013. However I think I am right in believing that these entries relate to the edited version rather than the full entries. Another point is that you need to be aware that the address given is shown as in a District and not necessarily the actual place. I looked at some in the district of Royston, Herts and I know that the addresses given are in various villages close by. I imagine once you have the address you could search on google map for it and hopefully find the actual location.
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, it is the edited version of the registers - I would imagine the only way you can see the unedited version is to go to the local library.
  3. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    No the unedited version is only available to certain groups of people. The unedited version is not available for public inspection in a library as a result of legal actions as a result of the introduction of the Representation of the People Act 2000.

    The limited groups of people able to see the unedited version is specified in the Act. These groups are largely involved in the operation of local democracy eg: government service providers, political parties, etc.

    The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has a good article on the subject.
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    According to the article the register can be inspected at the council offices.
  5. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Yes but notice "under supervision" you have to specify the purpose to which you wish to view the register and they then decide if that is a valid purpose. They can decide not to let you view the unedited register if they believe the purpose is at odds with the privacy of the individuals on the register.

    The idea is that they are trying to protect people's privacy for those that opted not to have their names published. I'm sure that those people that opt out wouldn't want people just turning up at a council office and getting there details from the unedited register with little effort.
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    It's hardly 'little effort' because the last time I saw a register it wasn't indexed by surname - this means you'd have to have a pretty good idea of where they lived in order to find them at all.
  7. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    Yes but I suspect the majority of people who tick the box to appear hidden would be annoyed that anyone could even see it in the first place. I suspect they would think that if you tick a box to appear hidden then their name should be hidden, regardless of sort order. Councils aren't going to make it easy to view such information.

    The address order is the most convenient means of presenting the data for use for their primary purpose, the conduct of elections. The full registers are however given to local candidates and political parties for elections typically in digital format so its easy to reformat them. I used to have the whole of NE Scotland's unedited electoral registers on my computer when I worked on the 2003 Scottish Election campaign for the NE Scotland Region.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I would have thought that the reason most people tick the box is to reduce the amount of junk mail they get, not to stop their distant relatives finding them. This is what one council puts on its website:

    "The full register of electors is a public document, but you can only inspect it as a paper copy under the supervision of electoral services staff at the council offices. You are only able to make hand-written notes of its contents which, by law, you will not be allowed to use for any direct marketing purposes."

    Incidentally, credit agencies also have access to the full version of the registers.
  9. Jeremy Wilkes

    Jeremy Wilkes LostCousins Star

    The British Library has the complete registers from 1947, and some earlier ones (there is a full list that you can find on its website by searching for "Parliamentary constituencies"). They are produced in the Social Science reading room, where there is a reserved table near the staff counter. It takes up to a year from issue for them to be bound and made available. The list that I mention is in P.D.F. and contains useful information about the history of the registers.

    I sometimes wonder how the chairman (or the clerk) of a parishioners' meeting to elect churchwardens is expected to know who on the register of electors but not on the parish electoral roll when he is not permitted to have a copy of the former. This is usually only a theoretical problem, but those on the register and those on the roll are entitled to take part in the meeting.

    Although arrangement by street is the norm, in some small villages the order is alphabetical. I have not looked up my sister, but I do not think that the footpath beside which she lives has a name, or that the road from which it leads has one either.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  10. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    The ordering on Electoral registers is usually decided by the Electoral Registration Officer for the area, although these days they tend to use one of a handful of computer based systems so the sort ordering is predetermined. Most times these days the default sort order is alphabetical by street name then alphabetical by house name or by postcode and house name.

    Many wards even in cities (on the outskirts) will have some rural bits up to the boundary of the city. In Aberdeen there are several wards where there are large numbers of streets with the odd extra house at the end, and a couple of wards where the number of rural properties is more than 100. They appear alphabetically at the end of that Polling Districts list after the alphabetical streets.

    Note as I imply above each ward is split into different polling districts. In theory they are split to make polling stations accessible so no-one has to travel far to get to their polling station. In practice the split is for the convenience of the returning officers and is based on the number of staff needed to staff the polling stations. As long as the distance to the polling station from any part of the ward meets the legal maximum they are fine. So they tend to minimise the number of polling stations to save staffing costs at election time. This is why sometimes you have to travel odd distances to get to your polling station. Also why sometimes there's a polling station just nearby or just across the street (but in a next door ward) and your street votes a mile away at a different station.
    Last edited: May 5, 2015

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