Annual canvass

Each year we write out to every household to check whether we have the correct people registered to vote and to ask you to inform us of any changes. This year, as part of the Government’s canvass reform programme, we will be using data and electronic communication, such as email and text messaging, to make the process simpler.

This means that households may not all receive the same method of communication from us, you may receive a text, email or letter from us asking you to check who we have registered and tell us about any changes.

Impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 canvass

The 2020 canvass will run from 1 July 2020 in England and Wales, and from 3 August 2020 in Scotland. EROs are required to do this by law. It has not been suspended as a result of COVID-19.

We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing. Please consider responding online, by telephone or text message wherever possible.

When you’re contacted, if you need to make a change to your registration information, please respond as soon as possible. It will make sure the process runs smoothly. It also means there will be no need for additional contact, which is particularly important at the moment.

What you need to know

Why have I received this communication?

Every household will receive some form of communication from us as part of the annual canvass between July - December. This is a survey of all the households in the country that takes place each year to ensure that the electoral register is accurate and up-to-date.

The purpose of the communication is to find out whether the information that we currently hold on the electoral register for your household is correct.

I’ve already registered, will I still get an annual canvass communication?

You will be contacted every year to find out if there have been any changes to who is living at your address. If there are changes, you must provide the information requested. The purpose of the canvass communication is to confirm who lives at your address. This means we can invite other residents, including any 16 and 17 year-olds to register to vote if we need to.

Why do you still need to send a canvass communication every year?

In order to know who is eligible to register to vote, including any 16 or 17 year-olds, we need to know who lives at your address. The canvass communication is designed to collect this information. 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 need to register.

Do I have to respond to a canvass communication?

If you have been sent a canvass communication confirming the names of people already living at your address, and there are no changes, you do not need to respond.

If you have been sent a canvass communication which asks you to make any changes, you need to respond by law, and provide the information requested on the form. You can respond online, by phone, by email, SMS or by returning the paper form.

There is a criminal penalty for failing to provide the information required by the canvass form to the Electoral Registration Officer of a maximum of £1,000. The penalty for providing false information to an Electoral Registration Officer is imprisonment of up to 51 weeks in England and Wales or, (on summary conviction) an unlimited fine.

I received a canvass communication, but the information needs changing. How can I update it?

If anyone listed on the canvass communication is not living at your address, their name can be crossed out.

The name and nationality of everyone aged over 16 who is resident and eligible to register to vote should be added if they are missing.

If your nationality has changed or you are now over the age of 76 correct and return the form and we will make the change or contact you if we require further information.

What will happen after I complete the canvass communication?

Any new names provided on the form will allow us to send a separate individual registration form to those in your household who are not yet registered. Or if names are crossed out it will allow us to remove anyone who no longer lives in the property.

How do I complete the information requested on the canvass communication?

Completing the form only takes a few minutes. You need to include the name and nationality of everyone aged 16 or over who is resident and eligible to register to vote. If there are no eligible residents, you should state why this is the case. If anyone listed on the form is not living at your address, their name/s should be clearly crossed through. You can also respond online, by phone, by email or SMS by following the instructions on the communication.

There are people listed on the canvass communication that don’t live here, what do I do?

If anyone listed on the form is not living at your address, their name/s should be clearly crossed through.

Do I put down everyone who lives here?

You need to include the name and nationality of everyone aged 16 or over who is resident and eligible to register to vote. If there are no eligible residents, you should state why this is the case.

Do I need to include my email address and phone number on the canvass form?

You are invited to include your email address and phone number on the canvass form, but you do not have to. We will use this information only in connection with your registration, and it helps us to contact you if there is a problem.

I have already applied to register, do I need to return the canvass communication I’ve received too?

Yes. The canvass communication is not a registration form, but instead provides us with information on who lives in your household. This means we can invite other residents, including any 16 or 17 year-olds, to register to vote if we need to.

I have already returned a canvass communication, do I need to return the registration form I’ve received too?

You should complete and return the registration form or register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The canvass communication is not a registration form, but instead provides us with information on who lives in your household. This means we can invite other residents, including any 16 or 17 year-olds, to register to vote if we need to.


Last Updated on Wednesday, June 24, 2020