Annual canvass

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, as credit reference agencies use the register to check addresses of applicants.

How we conduct the canvass

Following a change on how we carry out the canvass, your household may be contacted by:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Post
  • Personal visit     

During the canvass, we deliver a canvass form to every residential address in the borough, where we have been unable to verify the occupants with the Department for Work and Pensions.

We will continue to contact properties we need a response from, this could include a phone call or personal visit.

When you're contacted, if you need to make a change to your registration information please reply as soon as possible by going on-line, as it will help the canvass run smoothly and it means there will be no need for additional contact which is important at the moment.

How to respond

You'll find all the details on the canvass form 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, even if you aren't eligible to vote in the UK, or if 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. They'll be eligible to vote when they become 18, but not before.
  • All persons who normally live at your address but are temporarily away, for example on holiday, in hospital, as students. Students are entitled to register both at their home address and their term-time address and may vote in local elections in both areas.  However, they may only vote once in the event of a Parliamentary 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 18 by 1 February 2021.

If you're moving house

If you've a confirmed moving date before 1 February 2021, 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, 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 information from you.  Once you've moved house, contact us on (01226) 773070 and we'll send you a household enquiry form to your new house.

If no-one's entitled to vote

If the property is empty, a second home, used only for business purposes, or no-one's eligible to vote, you must still return the canvass form to tell us this.

The revised electoral register

A revised electoral register will be published 1 February 2021.  It will be used for all elections held during 2021.