Forms from your local authority will soon be hitting doormats to help ensure your voter registration details remain up-to-date. Local authorities are required by law to do this every year as part of the Annual Canvass, which has not been suspended as a result of the current public health situation. Failure to respond where prompted will result in further reminders and home visits from Canvassers to non-responding households.
With the postponed May 2020 elections now taking place across Northamptonshire in May 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure that they are ready to take part.
Norman Stronach, Electoral Registration Officer at Corby Borough Council said:
“This year’s canvass is taking place during a challenging public health situation. All authorities are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.
“To that effect, we will be making full use of new communication methods to better reach our electorate including SMS, email and telephone canvassing. Some electors may not be used to being messaged in this way and so if you have concerns about the legitimacy of any voter registration message, please contact your local election office. Responding quickly, where prompted, will ensure that there is no need for a home visit, which is particularly important during the Coronavirus pandemic.
If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in any messaging we send. The easiest way to register is online at www.gov.uk/registertovote or by calling your local election office.”
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to check their voter details carefully. Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered to vote than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. Not updating details on the Electoral Register can have unexpected consequences such as affecting your credit score which impact buying things on credit such as a mobile phone, or making a mortgage application.
Details on how to respond will be provided on every form, letter, email or SMS. Any residents who have concerns or questions can contact their local authority for further information.
Residents in Kettering can call 01536 410333, email email@example.com or visit www.kettering.gov.uk/info/20008/elections_and_voting
Residents in Wellingborough can call 01933 231 513, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.wellingborough.gov.uk/info/364/elections_and_voting.
Notes to editors
- The May 2020 Elections were postponed for 12 months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Elections are taking place across Northamptonshire in May 2021 including the new Unitary Council Elections and Police, Fire and Crime commissioner elections.
- The Representation of the People Act 1983 places a duty on Electoral Registration Officers to maintain the electoral register for their area and to conduct an annual canvass of all residential properties.
- The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service or checking credit applications.
- The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
- To be eligible to register to vote a person must be:
- Aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18)
- A British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave.
- A citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.
- British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta) can vote in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. To date, the UK Government has not made changes to the eligibility of EU citizens, meaning at present they too can vote in these elections.