Electoral services privacy notice

Electoral Services on behalf of the Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer

What personal information is being processed and what for

The Electoral Registration Office keeps records about the following:

  • potential and actual electors
  • electors who register anonymously
  • voters
  • citizens
  • candidates and their agents
  • staff employed at an election or at the electoral registration canvass
  • people who help with the booking and opening of polling stations

National reforms to the annual registration process are being implemented by the Government in 2020. Finding new electors throughout the year and consistently maintaining the accuracy of the register (i.e. completing deletions throughout the year) is instrumental to the successful implementation of the national reforms.

The records held may include the following (where required):

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Nationality
  • Telephone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Unique identifiers (such as National Insurance numbers)
  • Scanned application forms and dates of any letters of correspondence, previous or any redirected addresses
  • Further evidence from certain individuals such as copies of their passport, marriage certificate or driving licence.
  • The reason an individual may require an absent vote, the individual’s signature and date of birth
  • If an individual is over 76 or under 16/17
  • Whether an individual has chosen to opt out of the Open version of the Register
  • Gender for those employed at Elections or Annual Canvass
  • Title for those employed at Elections or Annual Canvass
  • Bank details for those employed at Elections or Annual Canvass
  • Car registration details for those employed at Elections or Annual Canvass
  • Previous employment data for those employed at Elections or Annual Canvass

Why we are allowed to use your information

The Electoral Registration Officer is a data controller and collects the personal data you provide for the purpose of registering your right to vote. You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. We have a duty to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year. We will only collect the personal data we need from you, in order to do this.

We do this as a legal obligation to comply with the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, Regulation 26 of the Representation of the People Regulations 2001, the Juries Act 1974 and Representation of the People Act 1983. This ensures you are registered to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an Electoral Registration Officer for inclusion in the full register.

The Electoral Registration Officer is required to conduct the annual canvass and as such employs individuals to act as Electoral Registration Canvassers.  The personal details of canvassers are collected for the purpose of making the relevant payments to those individuals.

The Returning Officer is required to organise elections within the local authority area for Borough, Town, Parish and Parliamentary elections. They are also required to organise referendums, including national referendums and neighbourhood planning referendums. This means the Returning Officer must employ people to work at the elections, for example on polling stations and the verification and counting of votes. They are therefore required to collect and process personal data for the purpose of managing the elections and to enable payment to the individuals employed.

Who we will share your information with

To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service.

More information about the Electoral Registration Digital Service  

Data Matching Information Requirements – the data matching occurs at an individual elector level, as follows:

  • Matching the name (including previous names and addresses), date of birth (where held) and address (in the form of string addresses and unique property reference number (where available) against the  DWP CIS database
  • Matching the name and string address as a minimum for local data
  • Match scores which deem the elector either matched or unmatched (aggregated at household level)

Sometimes personal information needs to be given to other authorities, organisations or people, but only for purposes set out in legislation.  Examples of this are candidates; libraries, other council departments (such as council tax), political parties and credit reference agencies. This may be for the prevention or detection of crime, or because of legal matters. We don’t need your consent to do this, but if we can, we will let you know if we’ve passed your information on.

Our software providers will also store your information, but only on our instructions.  They won’t use it for any other reasons, and they have to look after it in the same way that we would.

Our printing company will also use your information, but only on our instructions.  They won’t use it for any other reasons, and they have to look after it in the same way we would. 

We are required to provide copies of the Full Electoral Register to certain organisations and individuals by law.  They may use it for their own reasons that are different to ours, but they still have to look after it in the same way.  For a list of these organisations and individuals you can contact our Electoral Services Team by telephoning 01270 685922 or email electoral.information@cheshireeast.gov.uk

If you have chosen to be included in the Open Register, by law your information can be shared with anyone who requests it.  They may use it for their own reasons that are different to ours, but they still have to look after it in the same way. 

We share staff information with the payroll department at Cheshire East Council to enable payment to be made to all staff working at elections or at the annual electoral registration canvass. 

Contact details of staff employed for election duties are shared in connection with the managing of elections. Specifically, phone numbers of polling station staff are shared with individuals working at the same polling station and Polling Station Inspectors to allow contact prior to the event. Polling Station Inspectors are also given the home address of each person working at the stations for which they are responsible for emergency contact purposes only.

Where we get your information from

Elector details are supplied directly from the individual when they make their application to be added to the Electoral Register. The person is asked to provide these details by law for electoral registration purposes. 

Details are also gathered from other Council departments, such as Council Tax, Benefits and Registrars of Birth’s and Death’s to process information held in these records and to identify potential electors. The Electoral Registration Department has a legislative basis for obtaining this information.

We ask staff employed at elections or the annual electoral registration canvass to supply contact details and other personal details. This is so we can make payments and for other election purposes such as contact by election personnel. These details are kept in paper form, and on our computer system, and for the relevant election or electoral registration canvass period.

How long we will keep your personal information

The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.

Details of retention periods can be found on our website on the Information Asset Register

How your information is stored 

Information may be held as a written record; kept on a computer as an electronic record or scanned imaged, or as a printed record from our computer system. All records are stored in a secure office which only certain people can access.

Our computer system can only be accessed by certain people as required by legislation. Certain people have limited access, for example on a ‘view only’ basis and can only view/process certain information as contained within their own legislation. The departments which have access to the Electoral Registration Register have a legislative basis for obtaining this information.

The system is protected by passwords and can produce information regarding who has accessed the system. The information is backed up onto secure Cheshire East Council servers.

Certain documents are open to public inspection for specified periods, for example the Electoral Register is a public document which can be viewed by appointment, under supervision. 

What will happen if you don’t provide us with your information

If you do not supply your information to the Electoral Registration Officer, your details will not be on the Electoral Register. You will then not be allowed to vote at any elections or referendums. You may also be liable to a fine as set out in law.  

In addition, other organisations such as the Credit Reference Agencies or the Jury Summoning Service will not hold details for you. This may cause you difficulty obtaining credit, and you might not be asked to serve on a Jury.

You will also not be able to be employed to work at the election.

Will your information be used to make automated decisions?

No, neither the Electoral Registration Officer nor the Returning Officer use your information to make any automated decisions.

Your rights

You have a number of rights regarding your personal data, including withdrawing your consent where we have asked for it. You can also ask for a copy of the information we hold about you and ask us to correct anything that is wrong. For detailed information about your rights please see our privacy notice.

Page last reviewed: 28 January 2022