Register to vote

You can register to vote at the website if you are over 16 – you should do this well in advance of an election. If you change your name or move house you will have to register again.

Absent voting

If you cannot get to your local polling station on the day of an election, you can vote by post or apply for a proxy vote. A proxy vote means someone else will be able to cast your vote on your behalf. If you intend to apply for an absent vote, we advise you to do so well in advance to allow the Electoral Services Team to ask you for further evidence to support your application if required. If we do ask for further evidence, please ensure you send in a photocopy or email the document as we do not need the original document.

From 31 October 2023, absent vote applications for all polls in England, UK Parliamentary elections in Scotland and UK Parliamentary and PCC elections in Wales must be verified against DWP data.  When you apply for a postal vote, you will need to supply your National Insurance Number, as well as your name, address, date of birth and signature.  In order that we can verify the identity of the person applying for the postal vote.  Please note, we are unable to accept electronic signatures. 

Postal vote applications will only be valid for a maximum 3 year period. After this period you will have to re-apply. The Electoral Services Team will write to you about this prior to your absent vote expiring.

If you are unable to use the online facility, please contact the Electoral Services Team via email: or telephone: 0118 937 3717.

Apply for a postal vote

Apply for a proxy vote


Students can register at home or in the place they are at college or university.

If your home and university addresses are in two different local authority areas, you can vote in local elections in both areas.

However, even if you are registered in two areas you can only vote in one at a general election.

Electoral register

Once you register to vote, you are added to the electoral register. There are two versions:

  • the full register – this is used for elections, law enforcement and by credit reference agencies
  • the open register – businesses and charities can contact us to purchase a copy to confirm name and address details

Contact us to exclude your details from the open register.

Viewing the electoral register

To view the register, you will need to go to the Civic Offices and take a ticket for a 10 minute appointment. This service is available Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You will need to know the person’s address as you cannot search the register by name. Hand-written notes may be taken but no copies of the register can be taken. If you need longer to view the register you will need to contact the Electoral Services team on or 0118 937 3717. Historic records can be viewed at Berkshire Records Office.

Last updated on 05/11/2023