back to article Electoral officers oppose edited register

Most local authority electoral officers support the information commissioner's recommendation to scrap the edited electoral roll, according to a new survey. The survey of 204 councils, taken during August by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Electoral Administrators, found that 98 per cent of …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Darren B

    Why waste time selling it

    When it will be mislaid on a USB Stick/CD/DVD/Other Removable media* at some point.

    *delete as appropriate

    Mines the one with the boxs of new DVD-R's in the pockets.

  2. alphaxion

    and what they really meant was...

    "they resent pulling in such a mediocre amount of money, this shit should sell for way more"

    Pigs lurve their troughs.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hurrah for another piece of expert advice for the Government to ignore.

  4. dervheid

    Common Sense spreading like a plague?

    The Nulabourian hierarchy must be quaking in their (designer) boots (and Saville Row suits).

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. John Robson Silver badge

    In the meantime do the sensible thing...

    Automatically opt everyone out...

    Sell a blank sheet of A4

  7. Colin Mackenzie
    Thumb Down

    I agree...

    ....with this stance. Why do we have to opt out of direct marketing schemes? Surely the default should always be opt in.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Its not so straightforward to opt out.

    Don't know if this applies to everybody, but if you live in Enfield you have the option to register by post, by phone or via a web site.

    However, if you want to opt out from the edited register, you can ONLY do it by post.

    Worse still, even when you've opted out in previous years, they send the form out so that by default IT OPTS YOU BACK IN unless you once again tick the OPT OUT box.

    Very puzzling, especially if Enfield also earns such a paltry sum from the sale of the register -- which must surely be costing far more to compile than it's worth.

    I'd agree with abolishing the edited register altogether, except that my suspicious mind says that as soon as everybody has forgotten about it they will find a loophole to start selling the unedited register for many of the purposes that the edited register was used.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even if they made millions...

    What if the bank sold your bank statements? What if the hospital sold your medical records? Or the telephone company sold your telephone records? (Umm).

    Even if they made millions it doesn't make it right to hand out information given in confidence. It's not their info to sell, it's given to them for a specific purpose only.

  10. Richard Gadsden

    Access to the unedited register

    The unedited register is given (yes, given) to political parties, which seems relatively unobjectionable to me. I know that their data security measures are awful, as you might expect for a bunch of amateurs - the people who do the actual campaigning are all volunteers, plus a handful of really badly paid staffers. But each one of these only has one constituency's worth of data; about 70,000 voters, or 50,000 households.

    The real problem is that the whole unedited register goes to the credit rating agencies (Equifax and the like). I really object to that, and there's nothing you can do about it.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    None-private votes biggest deterrent..

    As they note, you can opt out of the edited register.

    What you can't opt out of is the polling station writing your electoral role number on the stub of the polling slip...

    They can later grab any polling slip and, after two stages of cross referencing, find exactly who submitted it..

    So much for the Legally- and Human Rights act-guaranteed anonymous vote.

  12. Eddie

    Not just for marketing

    In Edinburgh, when they had a local referendum on the introduction of road pricing, the forms were only sent out to those who were on the edited register - "we are legally unable to use the full electoral register for referendums, only for elections" was their reason when I asked about this, whether this is specious or not, I have no idea.

    So by opting out, which I do, I also have to opt out of (some of) the local decision making apparatus, which I really, really, really object to.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Selling the register

    "The full electoral roll is available for electoral use and to credit reference agencies."

    It's also used to track benefit fraud, given to political parties for canvassing purposes, insurance companies, other government agencies etc. etc.

    Don't worry about the USB sticks/laptops/computers sold on ebay - our personal details are passed from pillar to post WITHOUT our knowledge on a regular basis.

    Black helos are watching us - all of us

  14. Thomas Tallyce

    ... and the councils also pay for disposal of junk mail

    > councils don't want to be a part of the process that generates money for junk mail companies in this way.

    .. and of course, it is councils (and our taxes) that then have to pay to have the waste recycled or landfilled.

  15. The BigYin


    The default should always be "opted out" and the consumer/voter having to take explicit action to opt in. That opt-in should only be for that single company or entity.

    If that company wishes to sell you info on, they should make direct contact with out and get you explicit permission to do so. Each and every time they try to sell it.

    This will kill the harvesting of personal info and hopefully kill off junk mailers too.


  16. Colin Millar

    Do RIAA do contract work?

    No 1 - Copyright your personal information

    No 2 - engage RIAA to identify and *take appropriate and proportional legal action against* anyone using this info without your permission

    * This is legalese for hunt down and torture

  17. skaffman

    Full roll still available to politicians

    The full, unedited electoral register is still available to candidate MPs, so they can freely spam you with pointless junk. I don't see why they should get the benefit of the doubt.

  18. Andy Livingstone

    Humble & Obedient Servants.

    Not sure which I distrust most, the opinions of Council staff or the result of a survey.

    Information Commissioner is currently investigating how personal details of those who had opted out became available through my own Local Authority, so do not be too confident about existing security granted by making a single tick.

    As for the information being requested, my lot started asking for phone numbers and email addresses this month. No chance, but thousands will provide.

    EDDIE, Edinburgh: Maybe by giving the edited Register it helped to get them the good kicking they so richly deserved. Their revenge of course is to tear up so many of your roads.

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    Full roll access.

    Was this tightened at the same time as the edited roll was produced?

    It used to be the case that you could just waffle down to the local library and look at it / copy it / whatever. For free.

    Okay, this was over 20 years ago now, but......

  20. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    @ TeeCee

    It;'s still the same - the full register can be inspected by anyone but not copied - you have to get the details one by one - so Stalkers=good Spammers=bad

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It pains me to defend New Labour I don't see why you're picking on them. Before we had the edited roll plenty of authorities were selling the unedited roll.

    The whole issue of opting out of junk mailing bugs the hell out of me. But there's a particularly nasty trick that some companies use to get you to opt in. We're all used to the check box that says "check this box if you do not want to receive direct mail from us", but a few times I've come across one of more of these check boxes for opting out followed by the final one "from time to time we pass customer information to trusted* partners, check this box if you do want us to pass on your personal data."

    They lure you into checking the box to opt in by preceding it with a couple of opt outs, those not reading carefully think they are opting out of the big one when they are actually opting in. Everything, but everything to do with personal data should be explicit opt in. Time for an amendment to the DPA methinks.

    *trusted = anybody willing to pay.

  22. Zmodem

    register a waste of space

    having it as a public record is a infringment of privacy god damn it. even if i have`nt been on it since i moved out my moms. and never will be on it

  23. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    My borough council...

    Is as useless as they come and generally regarded as corrupt. It also pimps an edited version of the roll and the box on the form needs to be ticked if you wish to opt out of this practice.

    However, after making sure the wording hasn't changed I have noticed that as I have opted out the last couple of times the box is already ticked for me. This still hasn't stopped me complaining about this practice (in the strongest possible terms) of course.


  24. yeah, right.

    JMHA too powerful

    The Junk Mailers and Harassment Association (misnamed the DMA) has too many tentacles on too many politicians strings for any effective controls to be legislated.

    Get used to having your voter information, drivers licenses, billing info, bluetooth id, wifi ssn, cell phone id, and probably even the rfid tags on your clothes tracked, catalogued, databased, mined and used in order to "target" you with advertising for stuff you don't need, want, or care about.

  25. Craig

    Step 3: Profit!

    "the councils each receive an average of £1,900 annually for selling edited electoral rolls"

    Ok this seems so wrong. While I do not support the practices of marketing firms, I do understand the need for councils to generate revenue from sources other than our council tax. If the edited registers remain available then it is high time for the councils to start charging more for the edited register if the company or individual purchasing it will use the data for marketing purposes.

    There are still legitimate reasons for purchasing a copy of the register, and those people should not be penalised. A simple clause such as £xxx for personal use, £xxxxx for commercial use would suffice and as far as I am aware, it would also be legal.

  26. Gary

    Post Code

    It;'s still the same - the full register can be inspected by anyone but not copied - you have to get the details one by one - so Stalkers=good Spammers=bad

    Colin, it seems as though this is another case of where you live deciding what happens. My local council have stopped the farce of public libraries holding copies. The only way to see a copy now, apparently is to go to the city hall. Not much of an improvement,but for thr dumbos who run this city,it is light speed! Gary

  27. Oldfogey

    A few points.

    1. Don't blame your council for selling the edited register - they are legally required to do so, and the fees are set by law.

    2. The reason they don't want to do it is a) they get annoyed ratepayers, and b) it costs almost as much to administer as they earn.

    3. As an experiment, I have opted out since this started, also become careful about ticking "don't mail me" boxes, but not registered not to receive junk mail. The amount of junk has steadily declined, so I now get only a couple of addressed items a week. Shortly, I shall sign up for Post Office "don't stuff unaddressed fliers through my door" option - then I should get almost no junk!

  28. chris

    die die die experian

    If the council is going to profit from my name & address, they'd have to be a hell of a lot more democratically accountable than they currently are.

    Given that they've sewed up everything into a small set of executive committees and given away all of the city's art and leisure facilities to a "charity" whose only link to democratic accountability is that its run by relatives of connected politicians and businessmen....

    well they can tittle.

    But how the hell did Credit Reference Agencies manage to get their loan sharking hands on the right to the full official register?! I have a list of people less suitable than them to have it and one of the few names there is Gary Glitter.

  29. night troll

    The best way.....

    ... to stop junk mail is to become bankrupt! Happend to a friend of mine, now the only junk mail she gets is "to the occupier" or wrongly addressed. Nobody else wants to sell her anything :-(

  30. Steve Browne

    Opt out

    There should be no need to opt in or opt out. Information extracted under threat of prison should not be sold on to anyone, including credit reference agencies. What is so special about them? They are private companies offering to sell me my data back after gaining it unlawfully in the first place.

    Perhaps the data protection act needs to be revised. For instance,data gatherers state what it is used for when harvesting information in a catch all type statement. Perhaps it is time that data subjects were permitted to decide to which uses their data can be put. The implementation of real penalties for data misuse would be a step in the right direction, accompany that with a more assertive ICO and we might actually begin to get somewhere.

  31. n

    PR red herring (standard practice)

    this big announcement is for the EDITED register, not the full one, which is passed around every gov dept, quazi-gov dept routinely. (justified by terrorism/crime prevention/think of the children etc,etc)

    You have to ask the question, why is it only worth a couple of grand, answer is because you can get the full one easily.

    ..and yes you can still go to the library to see it if you haven't already downloaded it.....

    ....mines the one with a DocuPen R800 in the pocket, and a packet of werthers originals for the old dear at the library.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021