Register to vote

In order to vote in an election you need to be on the electoral register.

Who is eligible to register?

  • You have to be 18 or over and a resident in the electoral area
  • You must be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of a European Union country.

How do I get my name on the electoral register?

The way you register to vote has changed. Individuals are now responsible for registering themselves instead of one person representing a whole household, as was previously the case.

Some people who were on the electoral register previously will need to re-register under the new system.

If you have moved within Wigan Borough we will remove your name from your previous address on the electoral register. If you have moved from a different council area we will inform them once you are on Wigan's electoral register.

There are special rules about being added to the voter list during an election period which may mean you are not able to vote at that election.

Why should I register?

  • The information is required by law
  • If you do not register you cannot exercise your democratic right to vote in any election
  • If you are not listed on the register you may have difficulty applying for a loan, credit card, mortgage or bank account as the register is used by credit reference agencies
  • The electoral register is used to appoint people for jury service.

Postal voting

Any person on the register can apply for a postal vote. The deadline for applications to be received by the elections office is 5pm, 11 working days before an election.

Proxy voting

As an alternative to postal voting, you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf (proxy voting). 

If you already have a postal vote and wish to change to a proxy you must tell us by 5pm, 11 working days before the poll.

The deadline for new proxy applications to be received by the elections office is 5pm, 6 working days before an election.

You can apply for a permanent proxy vote if:

  • you have a permanent physical incapacity, are registered blind or receive the higher rate of mobility component of the disability living allowance
  • your work frequently takes you away from home.

The permanent application form requires a signed declaration, from either a doctor, nurse or warden of a home, or in the case of work your employer.

Two versions of the register

There are two versions of the electoral register - the full electoral register and the open register (formerly known as the edited register).

The electoral register

This lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • Detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
  • Calling people for jury service
  • Checking credit applications.

The open register

This is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.

Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed.  Removing you details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

Choose whether you are on the open register

You can choose whether you are included on the open register when you register to vote.

If you are already on the register then you can opt out of (or back in to) the open register.

How can I view the register?

You can view the current electoral register, under supervision, for the whole borough at both Wigan Library and Leigh Library. Other branch libraries hold information for the local area.

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