Myth: If you pay rates, you're automatically registered to vote
Even if you pay rates, you will not
automatically be registered to vote, so you need to make sure you
are. Why not register to vote
Myth: You have to be a UK or Irish citizen to vote in elections in Northern Ireland
EU and qualifying
Commonwealth citizens resident in Northern Ireland can register to
vote. However they must have been resident in Northern Ireland for
the previous three months. Registering to vote means EU citizens
can vote for Northern Ireland Assembly, local government and
European elections. Only UK, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth
citizens on the electoral register can vote for elections to the UK
Myth: I have to register every year
Truth: The last annual canvass for electoral
registration in Northern Ireland took place in 2006. This means
that if your name is already on the electoral register then you
don’t have to do anything else! However if you have recently moved
house or your personal details have changed then you will need to
re-register with this new information. If you don’t provide this
new information your name may be taken off the electoral register.
Myth: My parents can register me
Truth: No, you must compelete an indiviudal
electoral registration form. On the form you need to include your
personal details, your National Insurance number and you need to
the sign the form personally. You may also be required to provide
some additional information to prove your identity, such as a
utility bill or a driving licence. You should contact your
local area electoral officer who can advise you on what to do.
Myth: Students have to go home to register and vote
Truth: A student can register to vote at their
term-time address as well as their home address. You can only vote
once in any one election, however.
Myth: You have to live at a fixed address to register
Truth: People with no fixed address can register
using a ‘declaration of local connection’. If you want to register
in this way you should contact the Electoral Office for Northern
Ireland on 0800 4320 712.
Myth: You have to be 18 to register to vote
Truth: You can register to vote from the age of
16, although you cannot vote until you are 18.
Myth: You don’t have to re-register if you’ve moved within Northern Ireland
Truth: Whenever you change any of your personal
details, such as moving house, you will always need to re-register,
even if you are still within the same constituency or anywhere
within Northern Ireland. Failing to do so may mean you will be
taken off the electoral register.
Myth: If you're registered you have to vote
Truth: Although the law states that you must
return registration information when requested to do so, there is
no obligation to vote. It’s up to you, but ensuring you are
registered means that if you ever want to vote, you’ll be able to
have your say.
Myth: When I register to vote my details will be passed on to lots of marketing companies
Truth: There are two versions of the electoral
register – the full version and the edited version. The full
register is used only for elections, preventing and detecting crime
and checking applications for financial credit. The edited register
is available for general sale and can be used for commercial
activities like marketing. When you register to vote, you can
choose to tick a box to opt out of the edited register, which means
your details will not be used in this way.