Residents of Wokingham Borough are being urged to check their electoral registration details or risk losing their chance to vote on decisions that affect them.
The annual canvass allows Wokingham Borough Council to keep the electoral register up to date, to identify those at risk of losing their voice at elections and to encourage them to register to vote before it is too late.
It is a legal requirement for the council to carry out the canvass every year and every household must ensure that the information is correct. With elections taking place everywhere in the borough in May next year, this is an opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.
This year’s canvass will take place from August to November in readiness for the publication of the revised electoral register on 1 December 2023. The council will contact some residents by post, while others will be contacted by email.
Correspondence will tell you whether you need to respond and not all residents will be contacted when the first letters and emails are sent out later this month. The council will be sending out further correspondence, as well as reminders, in September and October.
Andrew Moulton, Returning Officer at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “Keep an eye out for important updates from the council. The annual canvass is our way of making sure that the information on the electoral register for every address is accurate and up to date. To make sure you don’t lose your say at upcoming elections, simply follow the instructions sent to you. 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.”
How the canvass process will work
The council will begin to send out correspondence via email and in the post to residents at the end of August, with a response from someone in the household required. Reminder emails will then be sent in September to those who have not responded.
At the beginning of October, two types of letters will then be sent out: those who receive a ‘Canvass Communication A’ letter do not need to respond if the details are correct, while those who receive a ‘CF’ form are required to respond.
Forms will be addressed to ‘The Resident’ but anyone in the household can respond. Canvass correspondence sent via email will be sent from Wokingham.firstname.lastname@example.org and will contain the council’s official branding.
It is vital that residents confirm the details by 30 November in order to appear on the published register, while any new electors must register by 22 November.
During the canvass period, you can respond on the Household Response website, but you will need to use the security codes provided on the form to do so.
People who have recently moved home in particular are being encouraged to check their details, as research from the Electoral Commission shows that recent home movers are less likely to be registered than those who live at the same address for a long time. In Great Britain, 92 per cent of those who have lived in their home for 16 years will be registered, compared with 36 per cent of people who have lived at an address for less than a year.
More information on registering to vote is available online from the Electoral Commission. Residents with questions about their registration status can contact the council’s electoral services team at [email protected] or call (0118) 974 6000.