Don't lose your voice

Date Published: 21 July 2020

Annual Household Voter Registration Canvass

Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.

With elections taking place in the North Kesteven area in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.

The annual canvass ensures that North Kesteven District Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so. They would then be able take part in any future elections.

Ian Fytche, Electoral Registration Officer at North Kesteven District Council said: “It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from North Kesteven so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in the North Kesteven area. 

"To make sure you are able to have your say at elections taking place next year for the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Lincolnshire County Council, simply follow the instructions in the correspondence sent to your house.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.

“This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. 

"We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”

People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from North Kesteven District Council and check the details. 

Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. 

Across Great Britain, 92% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said: “It’s really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. 

"Making sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.

“There’s lots of helpful information about registering to vote on our website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter.”

Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team at North Kesteven District Council.

Electoral canvass

What do I need to do?

We'll be writing to every household in the District this week asking that they check if everyone who should be on the Elector Register is listed.  

Some households will not have to take any action if all information provided in the letter is correct.

However, some households will need to take action to change details.That could include removing names,  perhaps if someone has recently moved, or adding a name for example if someone in your household has turned 18.

Details on how to do this will be provided in the communication sent to you. The easiest way to respond is online.

By law, you must register on the electoral register even if you aren’t planning to vote. Being on the Register can help increase your credit score.

Why is this important?

By law, you must register on the electoral register even if you aren’t planning to vote. 

The annual household canvass is used to identify everyone who should be on the electoral register.

This means inviting those who should be registered but are not, and identifying electors who should be removed - for example because they've moved out of a property.

It is a legal requirement to carry out the canvass. 

What's changed this time around? 

Previously, we were required to send every household an annual canvass form, and this required a response whether there had been any changes in your household or not.

This time every household will receive communication, but you may not have to make a return to the form sent. This is because data from the electoral register has been matched with central Government records as a confirmation of valid electors.

A letter will be sent to properties where everyone in the household matched with Government records. Anyone already registered at the address will be listed on the form.

If everything on the letter is correct you don’t have to do anything. That’s it, canvass complete!

If things have changed, such as another person coming to live or leaving the property, just follow the instructions on the letter to make the changes.

Where one or more persons did not match the records held with central Government, forms requesting further information will be sent and someone in the household must respond to this letter. 

When do I need to do this?

It is extremely important that if your letter asks you to respond that you do it as quickly as possible. Online is the easiest way to respond. 

Responding now will save money by avoiding the need to print and send  reminders.

We will not have to send out a canvasser (which legislation requires us to do for non-responders) to your property, which in the current situation due to Coronavirus is better for all.