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Annual Electoral Registration Canvass

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

1. Overview

Each year we update the Register of Electors. This is called the annual canvass and takes place between July and November each year. The revised Register of Electors is then normally published on 1 December each year.

During the annual canvass we send canvass communication forms to every residential property to collect information about who lives at a property so that we know who is eligible to register to vote.

Do I have to send the form back?

This now depends on your circumstances. Read the form you have received carefully, it will state if you need to reply or not.

If the details printed on the form are incorrect or out of date, you need to respond.

An Invitation to Register form is sent to each new person that you add to your canvass communication form, so that they can register themselves. Everyone in the UK now has to register individually.

It is a legal requirement to be registered to vote under Section 5 of the Electoral Administration Act 2013. This states that you must return your Invitation to Register form which you can do online or by returning the paper form.

How to respond to the Annual Canvass Form?

The easiest and quickest way to respond is by visiting https://www.elecreg.co.uk/gravesham. It only takes a few minutes and once you have responded you can throw the form away.

You can also respond by completing the paper form and posting it back to us.

When do I need to respond by?

The earlier you respond the better.

Properties where a response is required will begin to receive reminders from September. Reminders will be in the form of: Post, Emails, Telephone Calls or even a personal visit to your property.

Why do I have to fill it in?

The information provided on the form will allow us to send a separate individual registration form to all the people in your household who are eligible and who are not already registered to vote. It also allows you to notify us of any changes to your details or if people are no longer living at a property so we can remove them.

Who is eligible to register?

You can register to vote if you are:

  • 16 years old or over (you can only vote when you are 18)
  • a British, Irish, qualifying Commonwealth* or European Union citizen** who is resident in the UK

Note:

* To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and either have leave to enter or remain in the UK or not require such leave.

** Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Republic of Ireland) are not able to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections and cannot vote in all referendums. They can vote in European elections by completing a separate application.

Why do you want my email and phone number?

We will use this to contact you if we have any queries about your registration. This is really helpful to us as otherwise we have to send you letters in the post which can make the registration process longer. We will only use your email and phone number to contact you about voter registration or election matters. We won't give it to anyone else, or use it for any other purpose.

What is the open register?

The open register is an extract of the electoral register which includes the names and addresses of anyone who has not opted out. It is not used for elections and can be bought by any person, company or organisation.

If you do not want your information to be sold then you need to opt out of the open register by ticking the box on your application form.

Does my information get sold to other people/organisations?

If you do not want your information to be sold then you need to opt out of the open register by ticking the box on your application form.

We keep two versions of the register - the electoral register and the open register. 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, calling people for jury service and 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.

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 or your credit rating.

What is a postal vote? Can I have one?

A postal vote means that, at election time, your ballot papers are sent to you by post and you also return them by post. Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station.

If you wish to vote by post then you can request an application form when you register to vote, or you can download an application form from The Electoral Commission website.

You must complete the application form before you can have a postal vote. We need your signature and date of birth so that we can check these when you return your postal vote at election time.

Why should I register to vote? What's in it for me?

Being registered to vote means that you can have your say at election time by voting for the people you feel best represent you. You can vote for:

  • your local Member of Parliament (MP) who represents the area in the House of Commons where decisions are made that affect the whole of the UK
  • your local Councillors who play an important part of ensuring their community's needs are met by making sure that the council aims to work closely with its communities to improve the quality of life for all its resident
  • your Kent County Councillor who represents your area at a County level
  • your local MEP who represents the South East of England at the European Parliament in Brussels
  • the Police and Crime Commissioner who oversees how crime is tackled in Kent
  • In some areas Parish Councillors who make some local decisions and provide some local facilities

By being registered to vote you are able to have an active say in national and local politics and make your views known through the ballot box. Remember - if you're not registered you can't vote.

Being registered to vote will also improve your credit rating making it easier to apply for mortgages and mobile phones.

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