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Electoral Services Privacy Notice

Who is the Data Controller for the information I provide?

The Electoral Registration Officer is the Data Controller for Electoral Registration at St Helens Borough Council.

Why are you collecting my data?

The Electoral Registration Officer is a data controller of this information and collects the personal data you provide for the purpose of registering your right to vote. You need to be registered to be able to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. We have a duty to maintain a complete and accurate register throughout the year. We will only collect the personal data we need from you, in order to do this.

The information contained on the electoral register will also be used to carry out an annual electoral canvass, which the Electoral Registration Officer is required to do by law.

What is the legal process for collecting this data?

We do this as a legal obligation to comply with the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 and the Representation of the People Regulations 2001. This ensures you are registered to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible. The law makes it compulsory to provide information to an Electoral Registration Officer for inclusion in the full register.

We keep records about potential and actual electors, voters, citizens, candidates and their agents and staff employed at elections. These may be written down, or kept on a computer.

These records may include:

  • Your name, address, nationality and date of birth;
  • Unique identifiers (such as National Insurance Number);
  • Signatures for absent vote checking;
  • Scanned application forms, documentary evidence, dates of any letters of correspondence;
  • Notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us;
  • Your previous or any redirected address;
  • The other occupants in your home;
  • If you are over 76 or under 16/17
  • Whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register.

 The Electoral Registration Officer processes the following special category personal information:

  • Race and ethnic origin, insofar as it may be possible for this to be inferred from nationality information
  • Health data – this may be contained within applications to vote by post or proxy
  • Data relating to Anonymous Registration.

This data will be processed in accordance with the council’s Data Protection Policy.

Do I have to provide this information and what will happen if I don’t?

This information must be supplied to maintain the electoral register and for the purpose of administering an election. Failure to provide the information may result in a fine (upon conviction) of up to £1,000.

Who will my information be shared with?

The information you provide is held in electoral registers which are managed by Electoral Registration Officers who, using information received, keep two registers – the full electoral register and the open (edited) register.

The full electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
  • calling people for jury service
  • checking credit applications.

The full register is published once a year and is updated every month and can only be supplied to the following people and organisations:

  • British Library
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • Electoral Commission
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • Elected representatives (MPs, MEPs, local councillors)
  • Political parties
  • Registered third parties
  • Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Candidates standing for elections
  • The council
  • Parish and community councils
  • Police forces, National Crime Agency
  • Public library or local authority archive services
  • Government departments or bodies
  • Credit reference agencies
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • Electoral Registration and Returning Officers

We also have to disclose (share) your information with our software providers and contracted printers.

To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. As part of this process, your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. You can find more information about this at https://www.gov.uk/help/privacy-notice.

The information contained on the electoral register will also be used to produce and send poll cards, postal and proxy poll cards, postal votes, postal proxy votes, Household Enquiry Forms, Invitation to Register applications, attestations, evidence request and absent vote applications.  We will also use any contact details to contact you regarding your registration or household information.  These contact details will not be shared with anyone else, except for the prevention of crime and fraud.

The open (edited) register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

Any personal data collected in order to process payments will be shared with the Council Income Section.

Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential.

It is a crime for anyone who has a copy of the full register to pass information from this register on to others, if they do not have a lawful reason to see it.

  • Anyone can inspect the full electoral register.
  • Inspection of the register will be under supervision.
  • They can take extracts from the register, but only by handwritten notes.
  • Information taken must not be used for direct marketing purposes, in accordance with data protection legislation, unless it has been published in the open version.
  • Anyone who fails to observe these conditions is committing a criminal offence and will be charged a penalty of up to £5,000.

How long will you keep this information for and why?

The Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer are obliged to process your personal data in relation to preparing for and conducting elections. Your details will be kept and updated in accordance with our legal obligations and in line with statutory retention periods.

How will my information be stored?

The information is stored on the Electoral Management System, supplied by Xpress Software Ltd.

Will this information be used to take automated decisions about me?

No.

Will my data be transferred abroad and why?

No.

What rights do I have when it comes to my data?

You can choose whether or not to have your personal details included in the open version of the register; however, they will be included unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register will not affect your right to vote.

You have the right under the Data Protection Act 2018 (General Data Protection Regulation) to request a copy of any information about you that we hold. This is called the right of subject access.

Who can I complain to if I am unhappy about how my data is used?

You can complain directly to the Council’s Data Protection Team. Please contact dataprotection@sthelens.gov.uk.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

The Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 0303 123 1113 or visit their website at https://ico.org.uk.