The Annual canvass for the next Register of Electors has now started but because of the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER) this autumn’s canvass will be different from previous years.
Normally every residential property in the borough would receive a household canvass registration form in the post. But because of the changes to the way everyone registers to vote different types of forms and letters will be sent out to residents instead.
Why is the Canvass Different?
In order to get the new IER system up and running every Local Council sent the July register for their area off, via a secure system, to be data matched with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). This data matching has been done to check that the information held on the electoral register is correct and the DWP database was chosen as it was deemed to be the most suitable for checking voter details against their home address. After the data matching process was completed the register was updated and every voter was given either a Green, Amber or Red match indicator.
What do the Green, Amber & Red indictors mean?
Green: these voters’ details matched those records held by DWP. Each of these voters have been confirmed on the register and will be receiving an individual letter confirming that they are registered and informing them that they need take no more action regarding registration unless the details in the letter are incorrect.
Amber: these voters’ details only partially matched DWP records. Most voters that came back as Amber were further matched using local data bases held by the Council and most of them were confirmed as Green and will be receiving a confirmation letter. Those few that we were unable to match will be receiving an Invitation to register form (ITR) see below.
Red: these voters failed to match DWP records. These voters will also be receiving an Invitation to Register (ITR) form. To stay registered either this form must be returned or an on-line registration application be made.
What if I am not currently registered?
If you have recently moved and you know that you are not registered then you may receive a Household Enquiry Form (HEF) at your property. These HEF forms will be sent to all properties in the borough that currently have no voters registered. However, if the previous occupants of your property are still registered you may find that you receive items addressed to those voters instead. If you do receive electoral mail for previous occupants you must return it to Electoral Services marked gone away, these items must not be redirected. You should also contact Electoral Services for a HEF form or make sure all at your property go on-line and register via www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Completing ITR & HEF Forms
You are required by Law to give the information requested in these forms even if you choose not to vote on Polling Day.
There is NO qualifying date for the new register so once you receive either a HEF and/or an ITR form, please complete and return it as soon as it arrives.
You must return these forms and if you fail to return them you can be fined up to £1000 for not returning a HEF or £80 for not returning an ITR form.
Invitation to Register Form (ITR)
This form will be pre-printed with name of the voter. If you receive one of these forms you have 2 options.
1. Check the pre-printed details on the form are correct and amend if necessary. Complete all other sections of the form including your date of birth and National Insurance number in the relevant boxes then sign and return the form in the pre-paid envelope provided.
2. Instead of returning the paper form, if you have access to the internet you can register online via www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Once you have either returned the paper form or registered on-line then your details will again be data matched via the Government Digital Service. If your details come back as Green (matched) then you will be notified by letter that you are registered and need take no more action. If your details come back as Red (unmatched) then we will contact you about what you need to do next. This will probably be as simple as providing further means of ID such as a passport or UK photo driving licence.
Household Enquiry Form (HEF)
The HEF form is similar to the old style canvass form in that it asks for the names of all the eligible people in your property. You need to complete and return this form as soon as possible so that we can send out ITR forms to everyone needing to register at your property. Completing and returning a HEF form does not register you to vote, each person must also make an individual application either in writing or on-line.
Who SHOULD you include?
- All British citizens, other Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Irish Republic who reside at your property including yourself. (view list of Countries - pdf - 16.28kb)
- European Union Citizens. They can register as local government electors and vote at any local elections. (view list of Countries - pdf - 16.28kb)
- Anyone aged 16 or 17, who will become 18 before 30 November 2015. They will be eligible to vote as soon as they are 18.
- Anyone who normally lives at your property but are away temporarily. eg students (who may be able to register at home and at their term-time address. Contact Electoral Services for more guidance), anyone on holiday, working away (for no more than 6 months of the year) or in hospital (including voluntary patients in psychiatric hospitals).
Who should you NOT include?
- Foreign Nationals: Those not included in the section above. Please note: British Citizenship is not automatically obtained by marriage to a British Citizen or on the granting of permanent residence in the UK
- People under 16 years of age.
- Convicted persons in prison. Once they are released they can apply to register to vote.
No-one Eligible to Register?
If no-one at your property is eligible to register then the reason why should be completed in the relevant box on page 3 of the form.
If the property is currently empty because of building works, the previous occupiers are deceased, or because new tenants/owners have not yet moved in. Simply tick the relevant box on the form. Once new occupiers move in then they can contact Electoral Services who will explain the options for registration.
If your property is a 2nd home you should register to vote at your main residence. Please tick the 'second home' box and return the form.
Nationality - Not everyone is able to register. You must be a British, Commonwealth or European Union citizen to register. Having leave to stay in the UK does not automatically entitle you to register. If you previously held a foreign passport but have now become a British citizen you should put on the form that you are British (view list of Countries - pdf - 16.28kb).
If none of the people living in your property are eligible to register because of their nationality simply complete the information in the box on page 3 of the form. Please note that you still must return the HEF form even if you are not eligible to register otherwise reminder forms will be sent out to your property.
If you are aged 70 or over you are no longer eligible to sit on a jury. When you register your date of birth will automatically register you as being exempt from Jury Service. If you are not able to sit on a jury for other reasons you will be able to say so if you receive a jury summons.
Unable to Vote in Person?
If you find it difficult to get to your polling station on polling day and are not already registered as an absent voter you can either have a Postal vote or appoint a Proxy to vote on your behalf. Please indicate which type of form you would like in the box on the ITR form or contact Electoral Services for an application form.
The Two Versions of the Register
The Electoral Registration Officer makes and keeps two versions of the electoral register.
• The Full Register - This lists everyone who is entitled to vote. This is the register that is used for running elections and for other specified uses as prescribed by law (contact the Town Hall for more information). The Full Register is a Public Document and it can be inspected by anyone. The Full Register is not available on the internet, it is in paper format only and any inspection of the register must be done under supervision. It is held at the Town Hall and if you wish to look at the Full Register, please contact Electoral Services to arrange an appointment.
• The Open Register – This was previously known as the Edited register. This version can be bought by anyone and used for any purpose such as putting your personal details on the internet and mail marketing. Being on the Open register is optional so if you do not want your details sold on you can say NO. The Open Register is also held at the Town Hall and can be viewed on request during office hours Mon-Fri.
Is your name on the Open Register?
The confirmation letter that will be sent to you regarding your status on the register will tell you if you are on or off of the Open register.
If your name is on the Open Register and you wish to come off then you may make this request by sending an e-mail giving your name and address to email@example.com or by phoning the helpline 01372 732152.
You can also go back onto the Open register by following the same process.
Please note that each individual person must make their own choice about being on or off of the Open Register. We are unable to process e-mails requesting changes to whole households.
Good News – once you have made a choice about the Open register that decision remains for as long as you are registered at your property unless you ask for it to be changed.
Note: Your personal information will still be included on the full register for voting and credit referencing purposes irrespective of what option you choose and the Council may be statutorily required to supply any information you provide to other bodies exercising functions of a public nature, for the prevention and detection of fraud.
Checking the New Register
The new register will be published on 1 December 2014 and can be checked from that date at the Town Hall. If you find that your name has not been included or your entry is incorrect you should contact Electoral Services quickly and someone will tell you what you need to do to register or to correct any error.
This new register will be used to run elections held in 2015. The next scheduled elections due to be held in Epsom & Ewell will be the Borough Council and Parliamentary Elections on 7 May 2015.
Please Note: You are not automatically registered to vote by registering to pay Council Tax. This is because you may be eligible to pay Council Tax but not be eligible to vote. You should also be aware that not registering to vote may affect your credit history.
If you need more advice, please contact Electoral Services at the Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom Surrey, KT18 5BY Tel: 01372 732152 or 732120 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you vote?The Electoral Register (including Electoral Registration Form)Standing for Elections Where to vote Electoral Boundaries Borough Council Elections County Council Elections Parliamentary Elections European Parliamentary Elections