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The Annual Canvas more frequently asked questions

> Do I have to respond and if so why?


Not all properties are required to respond if there are no changes. If you have received a form with a reference 'canvass communication A' and you have no changes to make, you do not need to respond to the form. If however you receive this form and do have changes make, then you must respond.

If you have received a form with a reference 'canvass communication B or canvass form' then you are required to respond, even if there are no changes to make. Additionally, if you receive an e-communication (email) from ourselves, you must also respond to the email, even if there are no changes to make. Failure to respond to either of the forms or the e-communication will result in a reminder being sent.

The law says that you are required to respond to any e-communication (email) and any form that advises you that a response is required.

Do not register only when you need a mortgage or finance – Due to prescribed processes and timings that we must observe by law it can take several weeks before your entry is visible to credit agencies.

The revised Register of Electors will be published by 1st December 2023 and you must respond no later than the 28 November 2023 to be included. If you do not register during the canvass, you can still apply to have your name added to the register. Applications to amend the register are dealt with each month, apart from September, October and November.


> Who can be added to the register?

To be eligible to register to vote in England a person must be:

  • Aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18)
  • A British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave.
  • A citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.

It’s particularly important that anyone who has moved address recently looks out for the form and checks whether they are registered.


> Can I register at two addresses?

Normally people are registered at one address - their permanent home address. Students may register at both their term-time address and non-term-time address. If you are living somewhere temporarily but have a permanent address elsewhere, you should register at the permanent address.

Having a second home doesn’t necessarily mean that you can register there as well as at your permanent address. A person’s name may appear on the electoral register only if they reside at an address within the electoral area. Residence is not defined in law; however, in England and Wales it has been held by the courts to entail a ‘considerable degree of permanence’.

However, it is unlikely that ownership of a second home that is used only for recreational purposes would meet the residency qualification. Ownership of a second home that a voter pays council tax on but is not resident in does not qualify them to be registered to vote in that area. It is for the local Electoral Registration Officer to decide in the light of an individual voter’s circumstances whether they may be said to be resident at an address, and therefore eligible for registration. Electoral Registration Officers are required to consider each case on its own merits.


> Do I need to re-register each year?

Once you’re registered under the new system you don’t need to register again unless you change address or name. However you will receive a form called a household canvass form every year, even if you are already registered. The purpose of the form 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.


> My husband and I are hoping to go and live abroad - can we still register and vote?

Yes you can, but Overseas Electors need to complete a separate registration form. If you are/will be living overseas for longer than 6 months please register online at . As an overseas elector you can remain on the electoral register for 15 years from the date you were last registered. You will be entitled to vote in Parliamentary Elections and Referendums only and you will also need to set a postal or proxy vote. Please visit 'Register to Vote' to download an absent vote form.


> I am currently serving in the armed forces how should I register?

Services Electors (Army, Royal Navy, RAF) can now register in either of two ways. They may register as a ordinary elector or they may register specifically as a service voter. If you wish to register as a service voter please contact electoral services to find out how to register. Please note that service voters only have to register once every five years.

> I am concerned that by putting my personal details on the register my details will be sold on or used for other purposes, what should I do?

Make sure you opt out of the Open register if you do not want your name to appear on this version of the register for the coming year. The council must make the Open register available for general sale and it can be used for any purpose. 

Everyone will be included in the Full register, which is used for voting purposes and supplied to the Credit Reference Agencies.

Please contact us on 01453 754886 if you need more information on opting out or, for serious cases, anonymous registration.

> Why do people over 76 years old have to be identified?

If you are over 76, please indicate this on your form or when you register online. Anyone over 76 is no longer eligible to perform Jury service and we have to supply this information to the Jury Summoning Service.

> Why do 16 or 17 year olds have to give their dates of birth? Surely they are too young to vote anyway?

As soon as someone reaches their 18th birthday, they can vote in relevant elections from that day onwards, providing that they are on the Register of Electors. By putting those young people on the register with a date of birth, they will automatically become eligible to vote at the appropriate time, without having to make their own application to go on the register once they become 18.

> Why do you need to know my nationality?

Only people who are British, Irish, Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the European Union are eligible to go on the register. Depending on the type of election being contested, there are further restrictions on who is eligible to vote on the grounds of nationality - for example, European citizens cannot vote in UK Parliamentary Elections, but can vote in local elections.

> I am a citizen of a European or Commonwealth country do I still need to be registered?

Yes - If you are from a European Union or Commonwealth country then please state your nationality when you register (if you are unsure of your nationality, please list the nationality shown on your passport).

> Why do you need to know my previous address if I moved within the last year?

> Why do you need my contact details - are these going to be published anywhere or passed on to anyone else?

We find it extremely useful to have either a contact telephone number or e-mail address for you. If we have a query during the canvass or in the run up to an election, we may need to contact you urgently and this helps us to do so.

We do not divulge these details to anyone else - they are purely for the use of the Electoral Services Office.

> Why do we need to tell the Elections Office and the Council Tax Office if we move - surely it's all just one Council?

Think of it in the same way as having a car - you need to get your car insured and you also need to get it taxed. You need both things, but have to get them from two different places.

The Council Tax Office keeps records of the main householder who pays the bills, with perhaps a note of just their partner, husband or wife. The Electoral Registration Officer keeps a list of all eligible electors living at the property.

It is a legal requirement for you to inform the Electoral Registration Officer where you are living.

> Why do you keep sending me these forms every year? It's a waste of my time and the Council's money!

It's the law. We need to compile accurate records and this is our way of obtaining information from each householder.

> Why has someone come to my house to ask me for information?

If you are required to respond and we haven't been able to obtain a response from you by a certain date, we employ canvassers to go door knocking in some areas. It is their job to chase up any outstanding information.

> I have a query which is not covered by any of the sections listed above. Who should I contact for help?

Contact Stroud’s Electoral Services by email at or by telephone on 01453 766321.

Security and privacy

> Will my details be shared with other organisations?

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited 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 (e.g. fraud), 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. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.

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.

> How do I join or get removed from the open (edited) register?

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. You can change your opt-out preference at any time by making a request with your full name, address and an indication of whether you wish to be included in or omitted from the edited register. You can do this using the form above, emailing or over the phone by calling 01453 766321. We will also write to you to confirm any change.


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