Annual household electoral registration

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Each year the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) must conduct an annual canvass to ensure the electoral register is accurate and complete.  The way the annual canvass is administered has been reformed to make it simpler, easier to understand, less costly and not so heavily paper based.  Cabinet Office have set new instructions for the ERO to follow, these instructions are set in law.

How the new canvass works

The electoral register is sent securely to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) database to be matched in July.  Electors' names and addresses will be matched against National Insurance details and the information held by the DWP.  In addition to this an ERO has the discretion to use local data - such as Council Tax records - to perform a matching exercise as well.

If all the registered people at a property can be matched with either of these databases the property will be sent down the route one canvass.

If there are any people at a property that cannot be matched the property will be sent down the route two canvass.

Care homes, nursing homes and all other properties that have a responsible person – such as a duty manager - will be sent down the route three canvass.

Routes of communication

Route one

If we hold an email address for you we will send you an email on Friday 13 August to ask you to confirm the details we hold are correct. If you need to submit a change you will be able to do this as well.

Within the email there will be a web address to access your property details.

You will also receive two security codes in the email that are used as a log in to identify your property.

After logging in you will be able to confirm or change the details we hold for that property.

You need to respond to us by Monday 23 August.

If we do not hold an email address for you, or we do not receive a response from the email on time, we will send the property a form which will have the elector details listed on it. The form will be sent on Wednesday 8 September. If the details are correct, you do not need to do anything more. If you need to make any changes to the information on the form then go to the website address on the form and use the security codes on the form to log in and complete that change. 

Route two

We will send a form to the property through the post on Wednesday 8 September which will have elector details listed on it if we are aware of registered electors.  A blank form will be sent if the property is empty.

We need a response from this form even if there are no changes to report.

If you would like to make a change to any of the information on the form, then go to the website address on the form and use the security codes to log in and complete that change.

If you do not wish to respond online and you have no changes to submit you can call an automated telephone service. You can also post this form back to us addressed to Electoral Registration Officer, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1UJ.

If we do not receive a response to the form we send, we will make every attempt to get a response from you. This may be an email if we hold an email address for you, reminder forms, a phone call or a visit to your property. If we email you, you need to respond by Thursday 30 September.

Due to the ongoing pandemic and to protect our officers we may not visit your property until it is safe to do so.

Route three

Care managers or duty managers will receive a letter with a list of those registered at the address.

If we do not receive a response to the forms we send, we will make every attempt to get a response from you. This may be reminder forms, a phone call or a visit to your property.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak and to protect our officers we may not visit your property until it is safe to do so.

If we have asked for any evidence to support a recent application to be registered to vote, we need it by Tuesday 10 August to ensure you are added to the updated register on Wednesday 10 September. Anything received after this time won’t be added until Wednesday 1 December.

Completing a registration

If you add any new electors, they will need to submit a further application to complete their registration.  Since the introduction of Individual Elector Registration in 2014, the law requires new electors to complete a separate application, which will ask for further information such as your date of birth and national insurance number so we can confirm their identity. 

The quickest way to complete registration is on the GOV.UK website.

Alternatively, we will send you a form in the post.

Be aware that to be added to the September register we will need your application by Tuesday 10 August. Anyone applying to be registered after this date, won’t appear on the register of electors until it is published on Wednesday 1 December. If you need proof of your registration – such as for credit rating purposes – send us an email and we will be able to send you an intention to add letter.

Postal and proxy voting

If you want to change your method of voting to either a postal or a proxy vote,  you will need to complete an application form. You can apply on the GOV.UK website.

Alternatively, we can arrange for a paper application form to be sent to you in the post.

You will need to complete the form as required and send it back either in the post or by emailing a copy of it to electoral.services@n-somerset.gov.uk. We accept scanned images.

Opting out of the open register

What opting out means

Opting out of the open register means you do not wish for your personal details – your name and address – to appear on the open register. The open register is the electoral register  that can be used for purposes other than elections and can be purchased by anybody, such as businesses or charities who may want to confirm name and address details.  

Your name and address will be included on the open register unless you opt out. This will not affect your right to vote. 

How to opt out

The household canvass form you receive will indicate whether you are opted out of the open register or not. If you want to change this, you can make this change online at the web address provided on the form, or email us directly at electoral.services@n-somerset.gov.uk and we will update your records.

electoral services

Electoral Services, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ.