Assuming I'm entirely in the UK here, totally UK resident, British citizen, etc...

If I were to start renting a flat somewhere, would I be allowed to register to vote in that flat's constituency right away or is there a length of time one must wait?

Are there any rules about registering and moving before/after the vote is announced other than the one about registration closing a certain amount of time before the vote?

Basically, are there any protections in place to stop a gang of voters temporarily all moving to a seat that is having a bi election, voting, then moving away again?

  • The housing shortage? Commented Dec 15, 2019 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


You can normally register to vote immediately upon moving home. However, there are a couple of restrictions under Sections 4 and 5 of the Representation of the People Act, 1983:

  • If you are moving to Northern Ireland from elsewhere, you must wait for three months before registering. (If you're moving within Northern Ireland, this does not apply.)
  • If you have another home elsewhere, it is unlikely you would be considered a resident, except in certain circumstances (which probably won't apply in this scenario).

Practically speaking, one would have to entirely move house in order to be able to register to vote in this new constituency, and it's difficult to see someone doing that twice just for a by-election vote.

  • This article in the Guardian theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2019/nov/07/… claims that students can register to vote in two constituencies, is this not correct? I've been through section 6 of the PDF you link to but I can't find anything that limits registration to one constituency only. Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 13:06
  • @DaveGremlin Students can indeed register in both their "ordinary residences", it even states it on the web portal to register to vote. Note that many University terms only total half the calendar year. gov.uk/register-to-vote Similar arguments apply to workers who travel back to their family home at weekends, q.v. lbhf.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/elections/register-vote/… More generally, arguments over itinerant voters would be a matter for an election court.
    – origimbo
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 15:30
  • @DaveGremlin Yes, you can register to vote in two constituencies if you are a student. But that seemed to be outside the scope of the question, so I left it out on this occasion.
    – Joe C
    Commented Dec 16, 2019 at 20:36

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