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The UK Electoral Register: The facts

Voting has been seen as the key to democratic government for hundreds and hundreds of years. This articles gives some information about what the UK Electoral Register is, why you should register and how you can vote.

What is the Electoral Register?

The Electoral Register is a list of everyone, who can vote in a certain voting area or region. Every area has one of these lists, and this list is used very strictly in terms of allowing people to vote on the day of elections. The rules are very simple.
If you are not on the electoral register, you will not be allowed to vote. There are two types of electoral register. There is a full version of the register and an edited one. According to the Electoral Commission, the details you provide are used in two ways: "Your details will appear on the full version of the register, but you can choose to exclude your details from the edited version when registering.
The full register is used for elections, preventing and detecting crime, and checking applications for credit. The edited register is available for general sale, and can be used for commercial activities such as marketing."

Why should I register?

Voters play a key role in the development of policy, and the issues that you vote on are issues that will affect you directly at some point. Everything that is decided from recycling bins to the amount of money spent in your children's schools is determined one way or another from the votes that come in. Sometimes, you may feel like you do not have an opinion on things and so, do not need to register. However, if an issue comes up in your area and you feel passionately about it, you will not be able to just add yourself to the register at the time. Put simply, if you do not register, you cannot vote. Aside from the practicalities, there is a moral reason to vote. People all over the world have died, and are continuing to die everyday for the right to vote. It is a fundamental principle of fair and democratic government. If you don't vote, what right have you got to complain if the government does something wrong?

How do I vote?

You can vote in a number of ways, even if you're not in the area.
Firstly, you need to register to vote, which can be done by a form online. Registration is very quick and simple. Elections will be brought to your attention as and when they need to be conducted. From there, you can either go to a polling station, or you can vote by post in certain circumstances.

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