Second homes and student homes

Registering to vote when you have a second home or when you are a student living away from home.

It is legal to register to vote for both your homes if they are not in the same constituency and you are resident in both of them.

The main qualification to register (apart from nationality and age) is residence at an address. The definition of residence is not set out in detail in electoral law, but it has been guided by decisions made over the years by the courts.

Unlike council tax, you do not have to choose which is your main residence for electoral purposes.

The courts have decided that a person can be resident at more than one address. However, a person’s residence must have ‘a considerable degree of permanence’.

For instance, someone who has an address in London where they stay during the week, and an address ‘in the country’ where they go most weekends, can register at both those addresses.

On the other hand, if someone has an address which they only visit occasionally during the year, they would probably not be eligible to register there.

Each individual case is different – please ask us for more guidance.

Convenience, forwarding or ‘care of’ addresses

We hear of cases where people register at, say, their parental home (although they do not live there) because they move address quite frequently. This is wrong; people should register where they actually live.


The courts have decided that students can register at both their home and term-time addresses.


Although people can register at more than one address, it is illegal to vote more than once at the same election, such as a General Election.

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