Annual canvass review of the electoral register

The annual canvass is a review of the electoral register, which we carry out every year in late summer and early autumn.

Unless your name appears on the electoral register, you won't be able to vote in an election.

If you're not on the register, you'll also find it difficult when applying for mortgages, loans, insurance or credit. This is because credit reference agencies use the register to check addresses of applicants.

How we conduct the canvass

Each household will get at least one form of canvass contact asking to confirm who lives at the property. Depending on the details we hold, you'll be contacted by:

  • email
  • phone
  • post
  • personal visit     

During the canvass, we deliver a canvass contact to every residential address in the borough. We do this where we can't verify the occupants through Department for Works and Pensions (DWP).

If the letter or email you receive asks you to respond, please do so straight away. We'll continue to contact properties we need a response from. This could include a phone call or personal visit.

How to respond

When you're contacted, if you need to make a change to your registered details please reply as soon as possible. The quickest and easiest way is by going online via the Household Response Service.

You'll find all the details on the message we've sent on how to respond. Where all the details printed on the form are correct you'll not need to reply.

Please remember that you're required by law to complete and return the form. You need to do this even if:

  • you aren't eligible to vote in the UK, or
  • you've registered before and are already included on the register.

Failure to return the completed form is an offence, which could lead to a fine of up to £5,000.

Who to include on the form

  • All British, Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens currently living in the property. Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are those persons who have leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who don't require such leave.
  • All citizens of European Union member states who are currently living in the property.
  • All 16 and 17 year old are invited and encouraged to register. They'll have the right to vote when they become 18, but not before.
  • All persons who normally live at your address but are away on a temporary basis. This may be they're on holiday, in hospital, or are students. Students are entitled to register both at their home address and their term-time address. They may vote in local elections in both areas. However, they may only vote once in the event of a Parliament election.
  • Anyone who is away working, unless they'll be away for more than six months of the year.
  • Any other residents, lodgers and guests (but not short stay visitors).

Who not to include

  • Anyone not currently resident at your address.
  • Foreign nationals, except for European Union and qualifying Commonwealth citizens.
  • People who won't be 16 by 1 December 2023.

If you're moving house

If you've a confirmed moving date before 1 December 2023, please leave the form for any new people moving into your property. If you're not sure of the date you're moving house, please complete the form.  You can write a note on the form that you're expecting to move soon and return it.  We can then do a follow-up check using the details from you. Once you've moved house, contact us on (01226) 773070 or we'll then send you a household enquiry form to your new house.

If no one's entitled to vote

You must still return the canvass form to tell us about the property. It could be the property is empty, a second home, used only for business purposes, or no one's eligible to vote.

The revised electoral register

A revised electoral register will be published 1 December 2023. It will be used for all elections held during 2024.