The Gumtree Blog

A guest post from Samantha Mills, Head of Campaigns at the Electoral Commission

Tuesday 27 March 2012, by

Need to register to vote in a new place?

On Thursday 3 May, local elections are taking place in London, many parts of England (including major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds) and across Scotland and Wales.

These local elections affect your everyday life, and you have the chance to influence what services your council provides, such as the number and quality of the local swimming pools, gyms and public parks, for example.

If you’re reading this blog, the chances are that you live in rented accommodation and you’re looking to move or have moved in the past six months.

As a result, it’s also likely that you won’t be able to vote in these local elections unless you act now!

That’s because last year, only 14% of people who moved house remembered to register their new address in time. This happened most commonly amongst people under the age of 24. Our research shows that in April 2011 only 56% of 19-24 year olds were registered to vote, compared to 94% for those aged over 65.

Looking at it another way, only 56% of people who were living in private rented accommodation were registered, many of them likely to be younger, compared to 88% for homeowners.

If you’ve moved over the past few months, or you‘re looking to move imminently, the only way to have your say is to update your registration details.

You can register to vote if you’re:

  • 16 or over, although you can’t actually vote until you’re 18.
  • A British, Commonwealth or EU citizen.

How can you register? Well, it’s easy and only takes a couple of minutes to do.

Visit our website,

  • Enter your postcode. This will automatically bring up a registration form with the address of your local electoral registration office already inserted.
  • Print off the form, fill in your details, sign and send it to the address that’s at the top of the form.
  • Be quick. The deadline to register is Wednesday 18 April.

It’s your vote, don’t lose it!


The Media Team

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