One of the common things you hear from people on the doorstep as to why they won’t vote is that they don’t want people tracking them down through the electoral roll.
However people can register anonymously. If for example you fear domestic violence or are in an occupation where your name and address needs to be kept private. Evidence of this such as a court order or from a senior police officer or senior Social Services officer is required.
Out of the 10,000 electors in Bidston & St. James one has chosen this route, but it is not very well publicised as it has only been available to people for the last few years. At the end of each polling district is a “Other Electors” section that for electors not connected with a specific address eg overseas voters. Anonymous registrations are put here but instead of a name there is just a letter (N) followed by a poll number where the name would be.
Those who are anonymously registered are sent a polling card in a windowless envelope. They are the only voter who has to take this polling card to vote. When they do so, their name and address is not read out.
Their information is not shared with candidates or political parties but only a select number of people prescribed by law. Joanna Perry, Policy Manager, Victim Support said:
“Anonymous registration is a big step forward for people who are in fear of their safety, or even their life. We know of situations where a perpetrator has subsequently found the victim and caused considerable distress or further harm, and in some situations killed them.
“So it is vital that victims who live in fear are informed of the option to register anonymously and still participate in the right to vote that is available to us all.”