Special category electors
As well as ordinary electors, provision has been made for certain other categories of electors.
Service personnel and their spouses
Servicemen and women (and their spouses) have the option of either registering as ordinary civilian electors, or as "service voters".
As many service voters move from one base to another, or even abroad, during their five year registration period, they should ensure that any address changes for postal ballot papers are kept up-to-date within that period, as otherwise their ballot papers may inadvertently be sent to an out-of-date address at election time.
The Elections Team is sometimes able to visit service bases within its boundaries to raise the profile of electoral registration.
British citizens living abroad may preserve their right to vote in UK parliamentary and European parliamentary elections only for a 15-year period from their last registered entry in the UK. If you're out of the UK for six months or more, you should register as an overseas elector.
Please note that you should return your application form to the electoral registration officer for the area where you were last registered in the UK (eg if your last registration address was within the Shropshire Council area, the application form must be returned to us).
Crown servants and British Council employees and their spouses living overseas
If people are working outside the UK as a crown servant or employee of the British Council, they can still register to vote in elections. Spouses of crown servants or British Council employees who accompany them during their employment abroad may also register in this way.
Persons with no fixed address
People can still register to vote, even if they have no fixed address due to being:
- A patient in a mental health hospital
- A homeless person or having no fixed address (eg living on a boat which may be moored at several different places)
- A person remanded in custody
To register, electors should complete a "Declaration of Local Connection" form. Applicants will need to provide an address where they would be living if it were not for their current situation, or an address where they've lived in the past. If applicants are homeless, they can give details of where they spend a substantial part of their time.
If an elector's personal safety would be at risk from having their name appear on the voters' list, they may be able to register anonymously. The rules allowing some people to register in this way are exceptionally strict and set out in law. To qualify, applicants will need either:
- A current court order or injunction for the protection of or benefit to either themselves or someone in their household; or
- The support of the application from a qualified person. That person must be either:
- The chief officer of police of any police force in England or Wales
- The chief constable of any police force in Scotland or the Police Service of Northern Ireland
- The director general of the security services or the Serious Organised Crime Agency
- A director of adult social services or children's services in England, a director of social services in Wales or a chief social work officer in Scotland
Please note that the qualifying officer doesn't have to be based in the same area as the applicant, but the attestation can't be delegated to a more junior person within the organisation.
Applicants should keep copies of court orders or attestations for subsequent applications, as these have to be submitted annually along with their renewal application.
With the exception of service voters, whose applications remain valid for five years (unless cancelled or superseded by a civilian registration), all other special category electors require annual renewals to be completed in order that they can remain registered. Renewal reminders are sent by the electoral registration officer to the elector's last notified address up to three months before their current registration expires. This should allow sufficient time for those electors to complete and return a renewal form to us for processing. If we don't hear back from the elector within that time period, we're under a legal obligation to remove that name when the registration period comes to an end.
For any further information, take a look at the Your Vote Matters website or get in touch with us using the contact details on this page.