Electoral rolls, more commonly known as electoral registers, record the names of everyone in a particular area who is registered to vote in an election or referendum. Any British, Irish or European Union citizen aged 16 or over can register to vote in the United Kingdom, although only those over the age of 18 are actually allowed to vote. In 2012, 394,940 people were registered to vote in County Durham.
Review the difference between the two versions of the electoral register. The full register lists the names of every potential voter in the area, while the edited register lists only the names of those voters who have agreed to have their names included. The full register is used for elections, credit checks and by the police, while the edited register is commercially available and is often used by marketing companies.
Look at the map of the electoral boundaries within Durham so you understand how the register works. Each voter is registered within a specific area, known as an electoral district or ED. In Durham, these include Framwell Gate and Newtown Hall in the north of the city, Belmont in the east and Elvet and Gilesgate in the city centre. The electoral register is arranged by address, rather than by names, so it’s vital that you have some prior knowledge of the area.
Contact the Electoral Services Office at Durham County Council, who administer the electoral register for both the city and the county. You will be able to make an appointment to see either the full or edited version of the register.
Visit the Electoral Services Office at the time you scheduled your appointment. Remember the register is organized by address, so look for the electoral district you’re interested in and then for the names and addresses of the people who live there and are registered to vote.