To be able to vote at elections your name must be on the electoral register.
Everybody who is:
- Resident in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray,
- A British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen, or a Foreign National
- Aged 14 or over
may apply to have their name added to the electoral register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If you do not have internet access, we can take your details over the telephone and get you registered. Our office contact details are provided at the foot of this page.
You can vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections as soon as you are 16 years old. Once you are 18 you can vote in European and Westminster Parliamentary elections if you are a British or Commonwealth citizen. If you are not a British or Commonwealth citizen you are not entitled to vote in Westminster Parliamentary elections.
Canvass 2020 - Household Letters
The 2020 annual canvass commenced on 5 August and will continue until the publication of the revised registers by 1 December 2020. During August 2020 every household in Grampian will receive a letter that sets out who is currently registered and invites a householder to update the information.
We are issuing these letters to over 280,000 households in the Grampian area and asking householders to respond using our automated response services.
In contrast to previous annual canvasses, households only need to respond if they need to update the information.
We are encouraging everyone who can to use our automated response services. These are more cost effective and help us keep our running costs down. We can take responses over the phone between 10am and 4pm on weekdays but our capacity is limited due to the Covid19 situation.
If a household responds with the names of residents who are eligible to register to vote but they don’t individually register using our automated response service, they should go online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and complete the registration process. If they do not register themselves online, we will send them a separate registration form that can be completed and posted back to us.
New rules that came into force on 3 August 2020 mean that EVERYONE* who is living in Scotland can now register to vote providing that they are 14 years old or over.
*You must be either
- a British, Irish, or European Union citizen or
- a Commonwealth citizen or a Foreign National who has leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who does not require such leave.
If you contact us to tell us that someone is no longer resident at your address – Thank you for providing the information. The law now requires Electoral Registration Officers to obtain two pieces of evidence that someone has moved out before they delete somebody from the electoral register.
If we cannot find a second piece of evidence from checking other records, we are obliged to write to the person who has moved out and carry out a formal review of their registration. You may therefore receive mail addressed to the person who has moved out. If so, please accept our apologies in advance, and return the mail unopened direct to the sender. We realise that this appears to be rather inefficient, but the law requires this procedure to be followed through. We are also required to issue a formal notice by mail once we have deleted an elector.
A note on the use of the term British nationality and citizenship
Some of our service users have asked why some automated registration systems do not permit nationality to be given as ‘Scottish’, ‘English’, ‘Welsh’ of ‘Northern Irish’.
The reason is that that electoral law is extremely precise – so that there can be no grey areas over who can or cannot register to vote – an extremely important aspect given that the electoral registers are often considered to be the foundation stone of the parliamentary and local government democracy.
The legal ‘small print’ behind the nationality question is provided below –
The Representation of the People Act of 1983 sets out the franchise for the Westminster parliamentary registers. Section 1(1)(c) is reproduced below –
(1) A person is entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary election in any constituency if on
the date of the poll he—
(a) is registered in the register of parliamentary electors for that constituency;
(b) is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart);
(c) is either a Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland….
The 1983 Act is a statute from the Parliament for the United Kingdom. The UK is a member of the Commonwealth and citizens of the UK are entitled to be registered to vote on this basis.
In turn, The British Nationality Act sets out in law who is entitled to be treated as a British citizen, for example at section 1 (1) that Act states that ‘A person born in the United Kingdom after commencement […., or in a qualifying territory on or after the appointed day,] shall be a British citizen if at the time of the birth his father or mother is—(a) a British citizen; or (b) settled in the United Kingdom […or that territory].
Essentially from these statutes we have a situation where electoral law requires electors to be Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Irish Republic (EU citizenship was subsequently added for local government registers and in turn the registers used for Scottish Parliamentary elections); the UK is a member of the Commonwealth; and we have UK citizenship legally defined under the British Nationality Act.
For this reason, the systems that we use ask for the nationality that is defined in law – as opposed to what an individual may prefer to describe as their nationality – such as English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish. This is simply due to the fact that the franchise is legally defined in extremely specific terms and we need to adopt the same degree of precision when it comes to maintaining the register of electors.
People born or indeed living in Scotland may consider themselves to be Scottish, but there will be examples where despite their place of birth or habitation being in Scotland, they may not be legally entitled to be a British or Commonwealth citizen and therefore in turn will not be entitled to be registered to vote under the 1983 Act.
If you receive an email or letter that asks you to register to vote please register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
If you do not have online access you can telephone us and we can take your details over the phone alternatively a paper form can be completed.
The law requires Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) to point out that if you are over 16 you could receive an £80 fine if you do not provide the details when requested. The law also requires us to send you two reminders and have a call made to your house before considering whether to impose a fine.
Please respond as soon as possible by going online or phoning/completing the form. If you need help with re-registering or you do not think you should register to vote, due to your nationality, the fact that you reside elsewhere or for personal safety reasons, please contact us immediately. Fines for non-returns will only be imposed as a last resort after individual consideration and only apply to over 16 year olds.
This is available at www.gov.uk/yourvotematters
Click for more details about electoral registration in Grampian.
Click here to download postal or proxy vote application forms. You can apply to be exempt from providing a signature if you are not able to provide a consistent signature but want to vote by post or proxy. Select the appropriate ‘signature waiver’ application forms.
Whilst we maintain the electoral register, the Returning Officers for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus and Moray use the register to carry out any elections in the North East of Scotland. Click on the appropriate button to visit the Returning Officers websites