Electoral Register

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered at on 24 April 2024.

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Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what guidance his Department or the predecessor Department has issued on registration on the electoral roll when an elector (a) owns and (b) resides in more than one property.

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The Electoral Commission, as the independent electoral regulator, holds responsibility for issuance of guidance on electoral registration, voting and second homes.

This can be found at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voting-and-elections/who-can-vote/other-registration-options/voting-and-second-homes.

A person is entitled to be registered as a parliamentary elector for a constituency - or in the case of local elections, as a local government elector for an electoral area - if on the date they submit their application they meet the criteria for registration.

Those criteria include a requirement (except, regarding Parliamentary elections, in respect of a British citizen living overseas) that the applicant is resident in the constituency or electoral area. It is for the Electoral Registration Officer to determine whether the applicant meets this residency requirement by reference to the factors set out in section 5 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (and in some cases sections 6 to 7C of that Act also). Ownership of a property is not sufficient on its own, the ERO must determine that an individual is resident. Case law suggests this will involve a degree of permanence.

This means that some citizens are entitled to register to vote in respect of more than one address in certain circumstances.

However, it may be noted that it is a criminal offence for a registered elector to vote more than once in the same constituency at a parliamentary election or in the same electoral division or ward at a local government election. It is also a criminal offence for a registered elector to vote in more than one constituency at a parliamentary general election, or in more than once electoral division or ward at an ordinary election of councillors for county, London Borough or district.

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