Voting and electoral registration
Your name must appear on the electoral register for you to vote in an election or referendum.
Registering to vote - individual electoral registration
Each person must make an individual application to be included on the electoral register. You can register online or phone 0300 123 5016. You will need to give your personal details including your name and address, your national insurance number and date of birth.
To be included on the electoral register:
- you need to be over 16 years old to apply to register
17 year olds will appear on the electoral register with their date of birth to indicate the date they are entitled to vote. You must be eighteen years or over to vote.
- you must have a qualifying nationality; these are a British, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union citizen. For details of eligibility, see List of Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories, British Crown Dependencies and EU member states (PDF, 345KB)
- you must have been resident in the Borough within the last 15 years but are now living overseas
- you are a Member of HM Forces or their spouse
- you are a Crown servant employed outside the United Kingdom
Apply for a postal vote
You can apply for a postal vote if you don’t want to vote in person at a polling station.
The Annual Electoral Registration Canvass
We ask you to check your details on the electoral register each year during the autumn months. We call this the Annual Canvass.
We send a form to every property in the borough to ask you if the same residents are still living at the address or if there are other changes to make, we are required to carry out the Annual Canvass by law.
The changes might be to remove someone’s details; add a new elector; change a name or opt-out of the open register.
The Annual Canvass was amended for 2020 following introduction of the Canvass Reform Regulations, see below for further information.
Canvass reform regulations
The Canvass Reform regulations were introduced for the 2020 Annual Canvass. Each year all elector details held on the electoral register are matched against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) records. Each elector is then given a match status – either green (matched) or red (unmatched). This status determines which type of form a property will receive during the annual canvass.
The Electoral Registration Officer does not receive the details of why any person does not match against DWP records.
Two styles of forms
Canvass communication ACanvass Communication A
A property will receive a Canvass Communication A (CCA) where all electors at the address have received a green match status.
The property occupants DO NOT have to respond to this form unless there are any changes to be made to the details of the electors who are resident at that property and eligible to vote. If there are any changes to make, then the property occupants MUST respond using one of the methods detailed on the form – Online, phone or email.
Canvass formCanvass Form
A property will receive a Canvass Form (CF) where all electors at the address have received a red match status, or where there is a mix of red and green match statuses, or the property does not have electors registered, but we believe that there are eligible occupants to be added onto the electoral register. The property occupants MUST respond to this form, even if all the details supplied on the form are correct. The property occupants need to respond using one of the methods detailed on the form – Online or by completing and returning the paper form in the envelope supplied.
Replying to the annual canvass
Canvass communication A
If the details on the form are correct and there are no changes to be made, you DO NOT need to respond to the form.
If the details on the form are incorrect and changes need to be made, you MUST respond to the form by using one of the services listed below.
If the details on the form are either correct or incorrect you MUST respond to the form by using one of the services listed below.
Anyone newly added to the Canvass Communication A or Canvass Form will be sent an individual electoral registration form called an Invitation to Register – see 'individual electoral registration'.
Anyone with a disability who requires help or assistance in replying to the annual canvass can contact the Election helpline on 0300 123 5016.
Your personal data
We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes, including carrying out statutory functions in connection with elections, referendums and electoral registration.
In order to carry out these statutory functions we will share your data with companies employed to process the data on our behalf.
We will look after personal information securely and we will comply with current Data protection Legislation.
We will not give personal information about you and the other people in your household to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.
We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds in order to prevent and detect fraud.
Information about how we use your data is in our electoral services privacy statement.
Page last reviewed: 22 October 2021
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