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How to Find People on the Electoral Roll

The electoral roll is a list of registered voters in a state, used by the judicial system and candidates for political office. In the past, electoral rolls were considered public information and could easily be found in the public library. However, due to privacy concerns, many states have passed laws to keep the list private, making it more difficult for people to use the electoral rolls to find someone. Depending on the state, it may still be possible to find an individual through the electoral roll.

Go to the Secretary of State or State Board of Elections website for the state in which the individual resides. There are two ways to search using the electoral roll. One is to obtain the entire list, which can be broken down by counties or districts. The second is to search for a specific individual's name. Many states provide a search engine that voters can use to locate their polling station. These searches can also be useful for those searching for a specific name, although the zip code may be needed before the entire information can be accessed.

Fill out the request form and pay the purchase fee, if required. The website will provide information on whether the list is public or if it needs to be purchased. Due to privacy concerns, some states have passed laws requiring a fee in order to access the information on a voter registration list. In Maryland, for example, individuals can purchase a copy of the registered voter list only if they intend to use it for electoral purposes. If no request form or fee is needed, click on the voter registration link provided on the website. Ohio, for instance, still considers the registered voter list as public knowledge, and it is available for access through a link on the Secretary of State website.

Request a hard copy or access the list through the Internet. If a hard copy is requested, a fee per page is usually added. The registered voter list provides information on each voter, including name, address, location of the polling station and sometimes the person's political affiliation. Today, the electoral roll is more useful to candidates as an informative guide during their election campaigns than as information for the public.

Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Moreen Hayden has been writing and researching since 2000. Her writing experiences include a senior research paper about voter knowledge during presidential elections. She is an honor graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ohio Northern University, and is a member of the National Political Science Honor Society.