At the moment voter registration is done by household. One person in a household fills in a form and enters the details of everyone who lives there. The people who are eligible are then registered to vote. Now everyone will need to register themselves individually.
Most people who are currently registered to vote will be registered automatically under the new system. This will happen because local elections offices are comparing their electoral registers to existing records to confirm who people are. This will be done carefully through a secure system that has been tested thoroughly.
For all sorts of reasons, some people will not match against these records and therefore cannot be transferred automatically to the new register. For example, they may have moved home since the record was last updated, or there may be a difference in the spelling of the two records.
From 10 June 2014, all new registrations need to be done individually. This is known as Individual Electoral Registration, or IER.
You can register to vote online, this is a simple and quick process.
In the new system, residents will be asked to provide identifying information, such as a date of birth and national insurance number. This will enable their application to be verified before they are added to the register. In specific circumstances people who cannot provide this information will be able to prove their identity using an alternative form of evidence.
Anyone who fails to renew their registration under the new system in 2014 will have their registration carried forward to 2015. They will therefore be registered to vote at the 2015 UK general election.
For more information, please see the Government's webpages on Individual Electoral Registration.