The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the English-speaking world and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (October 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The electoral roll (also called an electoral register, voters roll or poll book) is a list of persons who are eligible to vote in a particular electoral district and who are registered to vote, if required in a particular jurisdiction. An electoral roll has a number of functions, especially to streamline voting on election day. Voter registration is also used to combat electoral fraud by enabling authorities to verify an applicant's identity and entitlement to a vote, and to ensure a person doesn't vote multiple times. In jurisdictions where voting is compulsory, the electoral roll is used to indicate who has failed to vote. Most jurisdictions maintain permanent electoral rolls while some jurisdictions compile new electoral rolls before each election. In some jurisdictions, people to be selected for jury or other civil duties are chosen from an electoral roll.
Electoral rolls, under various names, are used in, for example, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, but not all jurisdictions require voter registration as a prerequisite for voting, such as in the State of North Dakota in the United States. Most jurisdictions close updating of electoral rolls some period, commonly 14 or 28 days, before an election, but some American jurisdictions allow registration at the same time as attending a polling station to vote, and Australia closes the rolls 7 days after an election is called, rather than with reference to election day.
Traditionally, electoral rolls were maintained in paper form, either as loose-leaf folders or in printed pages, but nowadays electronic electoral rolls are increasingly being adopted. Similarly, the number of countries adopting biometric voter registration has steadily increased. As of 2016, half of the countries in Africa and Latin America use biometric technology for their electoral rolls.
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A permanent Commonwealth electoral roll, first compiled in 1908 and now maintained by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), is used for federal elections and referendums. It also forms the basis of state (except in Western Australia, which compiles its own) and local electoral rolls.
Enrolment has been compulsory for all eligible voters since 1911 (with the exception of Norfolk Island, where enrolment is voluntary). Eligible voters are Australian citizens over the age of 18 years. Residents in Australia who had been enrolled as British subjects in 1984, though not Australian citizens, can continue to be enrolled. (These comprise about 9% of the electoral roll.) Normally, enrolment and change of details requires the lodgement of a form; but since 2009, New South Wales has also drawn information from various government departmental sources to automatically enrol eligible electors onto the state roll, but not the federal roll, and to change enrolment details.State civil registrars are required to supply information, for example relating to death of a person, to enable names of deceased persons to be removed from electoral rolls.
When an election is called, a date is set for the 'close of roll', on which date processing of changes to the roll is suspended.
Currently, the electoral roll records just the name and address of the voter, although in previous years occupation was also recorded. Since 21 July 2004 the Commonwealth electoral roll cannot be sold in any format. It has not been produced in printed format since 1985, when it changed to publication on microfiche. Today, it is only produced in an electronic format, and can only be viewed at an AEC or state electoral commission offices, each of which holds a copy of the electoral roll for the entire country. These arrangements try to strike a balance between privacy of the voters and the publication of the roll, which is integral to the conduct of free and fair elections, enabling participants to verify the openness and accountability of the electoral process and object to the enrolment of any elector. The elector information is provided to political parties, members of Parliament and candidates.
The electoral roll in Hong Kong is maintained by the Registration and Electoral Office (REO). The final register is available every year on 25 July, except for years in which elections for the territory's district councils are held, when the final register is available on 15 September. All permanent residents of the territory, a status which required seven years of continuous residence, are eligible to be registered voters regardless of nationality or citizenship.
In India, publishing and updating of the electoral roll is the responsibility of the election commission of India, each state's chief electoral officers, and each state's election commission. These government bodies update and publish the electoral roll every year, making it available for download from official government websites of.
Total voters in India as on 1 January 2019
State wise electoral details for loksabha election 2019:-
|No.||State/Territory name||Men||Women||Third gender|
|10.||Jammu and Kashmir||3904982||3548312||45|
|15.||Maharashtra Jilla Aurangabad Taluka Patan Solapur||43940543||39542999||1645|
|30.||Andaman and Nicobar||146524||131464||0|
|32.||Dadra and Nagar haveli||122184||105399||0|
|33.||Daman and Diu||58698||57861||0|
Source: Election commission of India
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The electoral register in Ireland is maintained by the local authorities and all residents that have reached 18 years of age in the state may register at the address in which they are 'ordinarily resident'. Each November a draft register is published after house-to-house enquiries. The register then comes into force the following February after time for appeals and additions. A supplementary register is published which allows voters to make alterations (usually change of address or becoming 18 years of age) prior to voting day. Postal votes are restricted to certain occupations, students and the disabled or elderly resident away from their home. There is also provision for special voters that are usually physically disabled.
While all residents can be registered voting in Ireland depends on citizenship. All residents are entitled to vote in local authority elections. Irish and EU citizens may vote in European parliament elections. Irish and UK citizens may vote in elections to Dáil Éireann. Only Irish citizens may vote in elections for the President and in constitutional referendums.
The electoral register for elections to the six university seats in Seanad Éireann is maintained by the National University of Ireland and University of Dublin. Irish citizens that are graduates of these universities over 18 years of age may register. Voting is by postal vote and residence in the state is not required.
Electoral rolls have been used in New Zealand since the late nineteenth century, and some are available in public libraries for genealogical research.Traditionally, the Māori indigenous people have had separate electoral registration; electoral rolls for the Māori were introduced in 1948. In 1975 electors of Māori descent were given the choice of whether to register on the Maori or "general" electoral registers, a choice which allows those who wish for the former to vote for MPs from Māori electorates.
Parts of this article (those related to individual voter registration) need to be updated.June 2016)(
Within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, the right to register for voting extends to all British, Irish, Commonwealth and European Union citizens. British citizens[ clarification needed ] living overseas may register for up to 15 years after they were last registered at an address in the UK. Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or Irish citizens) can vote in European and local elections in the UK, elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies (if they live in those areas) and some referendums (based on the rules for the particular referendum); they are not able to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections. It is possible for someone to register before their 18th birthday as long as they will reach that age before the next revision of the register.
The register is compiled for each polling district, and held by the electoral registration office. In the United Kingdom, this office is located at the local council (district, borough, or unitary level). In Scotland, the offices are sometimes located with councils, but may also be separate. Northern Ireland has a central Electoral Office run by the government.
At present, the register is compiled by sending an annual canvas form to every house (a process introduced by Representation of the People Act 1918). A fine of up to £1,000 (level 3 on the Standard scale) can be imposed for giving false information. Up to 2001, the revised register was published on 15 February each year, based on a qualifying date of 10 October, and a draft register published on 28 November the previous year. From 2001 as a result of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the annual 'revised' register is published on 1 December, although it is possible to update the register with new names each month between January and September.
The register has two formats. The full version of the register is available for supervised inspection by anyone, by legal right. It is this register that is used for voting and its supply and use is limited by law. Copies of this register are available to certain groups and individuals, such as credit reference agencies and political parties.
An 'edited' or 'open' version of the register, which omits those people who have chosen to 'opt out', can be purchased by anyone for any purpose. Some companies provide online searchable access to the edited register for a fee.
The Information Commissioner's Office, Electoral Commission, Local Government Association and the Association of Electoral Administrators have called for the abolition of the edited register. The organisations believe that the register should only be used for purposes related to elections and referendums and that the sale of voters' personal details is a practice that may discourage people from registering to vote. The Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee recommended the abolition of the edited register in its report on the Government's proposals for individual electoral registration and other electoral administration provisions. Other organisations, including credit reference agencies, debt collection agencies and direct marketing companies have argued for the retention of the edited register. However, notwithstanding the above, Mark Harper MP, as Minister for Political and Constitutional Affairs, announced during the committee stage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill 2012–13 on 25 June 2012 that the edited register will be retained.
The full register contains the following information:
A 'Marked Register' is a copy of the register that has a mark by the name of each elector who has voted.It serves as the record of who has voted in the election, and it is kept for a year after the election. After an election anyone can inspect the marked register, and certain people can purchase a copy of it. The marked register does not indicate who electors voted for, nor does it contain ballot paper numbers.
Plans for a Coordinated Online Register of Electors (CORE) are underway; the intention being to standardise local registers and permit central data access.
It was suggested that the register data could be taken from the data that was to be held on the proposed Citizen Information Projector on the National Identity Register. In January 2005 the Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister began a joint inquiry into reforming the registration system. In January 2010 the Identity Documents Act 2010 repealed the Identity Cards Act 2006 which set up the National Identity Register.
Despite widespread calls for its introduction, the Electoral Administration Act 2006 did not provide for individual elector registration, on the justification that registration levels would fall. However, the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 introduced a move from a system of household registration to a system of individual electoral registration in Great Britain.
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In the United States electoral rolls are commonly referred to as poll books. They have been used since the founding to determine voting eligibility. Today, poll books are a list of persons who are eligible to vote in an election. In the United States, the roll is usually managed by a local entity such as a county or parish. However, the data used for electoral rolls may be provided by statewide sources. While traditional poll books are printed voter rolls, more recently electronic pollbooks have come into favor. Computerized electoral rolls allow for larger numbers of voters to be handled easily and allows for more flexibility in poll locations and the electoral process.
The Australian electoral system comprises the laws and processes used for the election of members of the Australian Parliament. The system presently has a number of distinctive features including compulsory enrollment, compulsory voting, majority-preferential instant-runoff voting in single-member seats to elect the lower house, the House of Representatives, and the use of the single transferable vote proportional representation system to elect the upper house, the Senate.
New Zealand is a representative democracy. Members of the unicameral New Zealand Parliament gain their seats through nationwide general elections, or in by-elections. General elections are usually held every three years; they may be held at an earlier date at the discretion of the prime minister, although it usually only happens in the event of a vote of no confidence or other exceptional circumstances. A by-election is held to fill a vacancy arising during a parliamentary term. The most recent general election took place on 23 September 2017.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is the independent federal agency in charge of organising, conducting and supervising federal elections, by-elections and referendums.
Elections in Australia take place periodically to elect the legislature of the Commonwealth of Australia, as well as for each Australian state and territory. Elections in all jurisdictions follow similar principles, though there are minor variations between them. The elections for the Australian Parliament are held under the federal electoral system, which is uniform throughout the country, and the elections for state and territory Parliaments are held under the electoral system of each state and territory.
Voter registration is the requirement that a person otherwise eligible to vote register on an electoral roll before they will be entitled or permitted to vote. The rules governing registration vary between jurisdictions. In most jurisdictions voter registration is optional, while in others it is compulsory for those of voting age. In some jurisdictions, enrolment may be automatic. For example, when a person registers a change of residence with a government agency, say, for a driver's license, the government agency may forward the information to the electoral agency to automatically update voter registration.
Early voting is a process by which voters in a public election can vote prior to the scheduled election day. Early voting can take place remotely, such as via postal voting, or in person, usually in designated early voting polling stations. The availability and time periods for early voting vary among jurisdictions and types of election. The goals of early voting are usually to increase voter participation and relieve congestion at polling stations on election day.
Elections in Lithuania, are held to select members of the parliament, the president, members of the municipal councils and mayors, as well as delegates to the European Parliament. Lithuanian citizens can also vote in mandatory or consultative referendums.
The Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 was an Act of the Parliament of Australia which defined a uniform national criteria of who was entitled to vote in Australian federal elections. The Act established universal suffrage for federal elections for those who are British subjects over 21 years of age who have lived in Australia for six months, with some qualifications. It granted Australian women the right to vote at a national level, and to stand for election to the Parliament.
The New Zealand electoral system has been mixed-member proportional (MMP) since 1996. MMP was introduced after a referendum in 1993. MMP replaced the first-past-the-post (FPP) system New Zealand had previously used for most of its history.
The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 is an Act of the Australian Parliament which continues to be the core legislation governing the conduct of elections in Australia, having been amended on numerous occasions since 1918. The Act was introduced by the Nationalist Party of Billy Hughes, the main purpose of which was to replace first-past-the-post voting with instant-runoff voting for the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Referendums are held only occasionally by the Government of New Zealand. Referendums may be government-initiated or held in accordance with the Electoral Act 1993 or the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993. Ten referendums have been held so far. Seven were government-led, and three were indicative citizen initiatives.
Electors must be on the electoral register in order to vote in elections and referendums in the UK. Electoral registration officers within local authorities have a duty to compile and maintain accurate electoral registers.
Voting in New Zealand was introduced after colonisation by British settlers.
The voting rights of Indigenous Australians became an issue from the mid-19th century, when responsible government was being granted to Britain's Australian colonies, and suffrage qualifications were being debated. The resolution of universal rights progressed into the mid-20th century.
The New Zealand Electoral Enrolment Centre maintains the New Zealand electoral rolls and conducts the Māori Electoral Option, which gives Māori the chance to choose between being on the Māori or general electoral roll. The centre is a self-contained business unit of New Zealand Post, under contract to the Minister of Justice. The centre has a team of Registrars of Electors - one for each electorate. The Registrars are responsible for compiling and maintaining the electoral rolls for their electorate, conducting enrolment update campaigns prior to all major electoral events, and encouraging eligible voters to enrol. This is to ensure the maximum number of eligible electors are enrolled to vote in Parliamentary, local council and District Health Board elections, by-elections, referendums and other polls.
There are five types of elections in the United Kingdom: elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies, local elections, mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Within each of those categories, there may also be by-elections. Elections are held on Election Day, which is conventionally a Thursday. Since the passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 for general elections, all five types of elections are held after fixed periods, though early elections to parliament and the devolved assemblies and parliaments can occur in certain situations. The five electoral systems used are: the single member plurality system (first-past-the-post), the multi-member plurality system, the single transferable vote, the additional member system and the supplementary vote.
The National Register of Electors is a continuously-updated permanent database of eligible electors for federal elections in Canada maintained by Elections Canada. It was established in December 1996 when Bill C-63 was granted royal assent by the Governor General of Canada, and the preliminary National Register of Electors was populated with data in April 1997 during the final Canada-wide enumeration. It replaced a system which required door-to-door enumeration of eligible electors for each electoral event. The database contains basic information about electors: name, address, sex, and date of birth. An elector may register or update their personal information between elections, or may request to be excluded from it per the Canada Elections Act.
An anonymous elector is generally a registered voter whose safety would be at risk if their details were available on a public electoral register.
A voter ID law is a law that requires a person to show some form of identification on election day. In many jurisdictions requiring voter IDs, voters who do not have photo ID often must sign a Challenged Voter Affidavit in order to receive a ballot to vote.
The right of expatriates to vote in elections in their country of origin varies depending on the legislation of an expatriate’s country of origin. Some countries grant their expatriate citizens unlimited voting rights, identical to those of citizens living in their home country. Other countries allow expatriate citizens to vote only for a certain number of years after leaving the country, after which they are no longer eligible to vote. Other countries reserve the right vote solely to citizens living in that country, thereby stripping expatriate citizens of their voting rights once they leave their home country.