Elections and Electoral Registration Privacy Notice
Lancaster City Council appoints an Electoral Registration Officer to produce and maintain a register of electors for the district, and also appoints a Returning Officer to conduct elections within the district. In Lancaster, the Chief Executive of the City Council is appointed as both Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer.
The Electoral Registration Officer collects information about you to allow you to vote in elections. We are required by law to provide an electoral service and it is the duty of the Electoral Registration Officer to provide a register of eligible electors to the Returning Officer to enable them to run elections. In order for this to happen, you must provide your personal information to us.
We are committed to protecting your privacy, and this statement is made in light of the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 and the Data Protection Act 2018 in order to advise you how we use your personal information.
When do we collect personal information?
We collect information from you when you make an application to register to vote, when you apply for an absent vote (postal or proxy vote), when you apply for a Voter Authority Certificate and when you respond to the annual household canvass. If we are unable to complete your application to register, we may ask for additional information from you.
We may also obtain information from other Council Departments and Specific Partners, such as the University for the purposes of Electoral Registration - the law allows for this.
What personal information do we collect?
We will collect your name (which may include any previous names you have used) and address, nationality, date of birth and national insurance number and in the case of a Voter Authority Certificate a photograph of you. We can also collect your email address and telephone number. Should we need additional information there are a number of documents that you can provide but some examples are your passport, driving licence or marriage certificate.
How do we use your personal information?
We use your personal information for electoral and electoral registration purposes, and to enable us to conduct the annual household canvass including issuing canvass communications to all households and following up non-responding properties. This is part of the public task of the Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer. We are also required by law to share information from the register with certain third parties. See below for further information.
Personal data contained in the electoral register and absent voting lists will be used to issue poll cards in advance of an election.
A signature (where required) and date of birth provided by a postal voter on a postal voting statement will be compared against that postal voter’s signature and date of birth held on the personal identifiers record.
We are required to keep, for our sole use, historic copies of the register of electors to check applications from electors living overseas who apply on the basis of the previously registered condition.
Do we share your information with anyone else?
To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service and the Voter Authority Certificate digital portal, both managed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUCH). As part of this process, your data will be shared with the Department for Work and Pensions and DLUCH/Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration and Voter Authority Digital Services. You can find more information about this here: https://www.registertovote.service.gov.uk/register-to-vote/privacy
We are required by law to provide information to other authorities, organisations or people. Examples are for the prevention or detection of crime or for the purposes of credit checks. They may use it for their own reasons that are different to ours, but they still have to look after it in the same way. If you want to see a list of those people entitled to receive a copy of the electoral register, please contact us.
We are required to produce another copy of the register known as the open (edited) register. You can request to opt out of the open register, so your name does not appear on this version, but you still have voting rights. The law requires that we have to sell the open register to any person for any purpose so any electors who do not opt out will appear on that register. You can withdraw your consent to appear on the open register at any time by getting in touch with us.
We sometimes pass your information to third party suppliers providing services such as data hosting and printing. These suppliers only use your data on our instructions. They won’t use it for any other reason, will look after it in the same way we would, and will destroy any personal data we share with them as soon as it is no longer required.
We participate in the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative, a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Minister for the Cabinet Office for matching for each exercise. This data may then be passed on to other public bodies to investigate any matches. For more information, see National Fraud Initiative.
We will not share your information with any other organisations unless required to do so by law.
Your rights and how to find out more
Your data is held by us in order to facilitate your participation in elections. Once you are registered, your data will only be changed when there is a change in your circumstances, and you can notify us of this at any time. It is a legal requirement to be on the register of electors, so we cannot remove your name from old/historical records when your circumstances change. We can remove your contact details at any time if you request that we do so.
You have the right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you, and to have any inaccuracies in your information corrected.
For further information about your rights, how the Council uses your information, and how to get in touch if you have a query or complaint, please see the Council’s main privacy notice.
We reserve the right to amend this privacy notice at any time. However, we take your privacy very seriously and will never change our policies or practices to make them less protective of your personal information.
If we make any changes to this policy that significantly affect you, we will aim to notify you directly if we hold contact details for you. You will always be able to find the most up-to-date version of this policy on our website at this address: www.lancaster.gov.uk/privacy-elections
Last updated: 15 February 2024