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Frequently Asked Questions

We hope you find the following information helpful.

>1.1 Nothing has changed on my Household Canvass Form, do I still need to respond?

 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 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 email from ourselves, you must also respond to the email, even if there are no changes to make. Failure to respond will result in a reminder being sent.

If you are required to respond, below are the response methods:

  • Online - This is the easiest way
  • Phone -01453 766321
  • Post - using the reply envelope included (for A3 forms with reference 'Canvass Form') or return to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, GL5 4UB (for A4 letters with reference Canvass Communication A or B).

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.

>1.2 What to do if someone has moved out/no longer a resident at the address?

The easiest way to do it is to remove them online

  • by phoning 01453 766321
  • If you are unable to use the automated response options, return the form in the post by either returning in the reply envelope included (for A3 forms with reference 'Canvass Form') or return to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, GL5 4UB (for A4 letters with reference Canvass Communication A or B).

Please note: We will need to send a letter addressed to the person who has moved out to confirm that they will be removed from the register.

Unless you are sending your form back by post, you will need Part 1 and Part 2 of your security code for the automated services. You will find these printed on the front of the form.

Monthly registration updates are suspended from 1 October until 1 December whilst the canvass process is completed, meaning Credit Reference Agencies do not receive updates from us during these months.

>1.3 What if the information on the form is incorrect?

The easiest way is to make changes online

  • by phoning 01453 766321
  • if you are unable to use the automated response options, return the form in the post by either returning in the reply envelope included (for A3 forms with reference 'Canvass Form') or return to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, GL5 4UB (for A4 letters with reference Canvass Communication A or B).

Please note:

  • If your name has changed, we will need to see a copy of your marriage certificate/ deed poll. You can scan this in and email it to us at elections@stroud.gov.uk or send us a copy in the post to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, GL5 4UB.
  • If someone’s details are added to the form, they will also be required to complete an invitation to register which can done by registering themselves at www.gov.uk/registertovote. If you have not done this within two weeks of returning your household canvass form we will email you a link to the online registration form. If you do not have access to the internet you will receive an individual registration form in the post. They will need to provide their date of birth and national insurance number.

>1.4 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.

>1.5 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.

>1.6 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.

>1.7 My family 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 www.gov.uk/registertovote 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.

>1.8 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.

>1.9 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.

>1.10 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.

>1.11 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.

>1.12 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.

>1.13 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).

>1.14 Why do you need to know my previous address if I moved within the last year?

>1.15 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.

>1.16 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.

>1.17 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.

>1.18 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.

>1.19 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.

>1.20 How do I join or get removed from the open (edited) register?

Registration Officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register.

The electoral register

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in 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 (fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.

The open register

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 will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed (opt out). Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

Opting out of being on the open register

To opt out of being on the open register, please email your name and address to elections@stroud.gov.uk or call us on 01453 766321

>1.21 Can I get proof that I am registered to vote?

Yes. We can supply you with a Certificate of Residency should you need proof that you are registered. To request this document please contact the Elections Team at elections@stroud.gov.uk or by telephone on 01453 766321.

>1.22 How do I change the address that I am registered to vote at?

Each time you change address it is classed as a new registration and therefore your identity will need to be reverified by the Department for Work and Pensions. You can register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, inputting the address you have moved from will also start the deletion process for you at that address at the same time.

>1.23 Where do I register if I'm a student?

If you're a student, you may be able to register to vote at both your home address and your term-time address. However, you will need to choose one address and vote in only that area when you're voting in:

  • UK Parliament elections
  • UK referendums
  • London Assembly and London Mayoral elections

You can choose to vote in either or both areas (as long as the addresses are in different council areas) when you're voting in:

  • Local council elections in England
  • Police and Crime commissioner elections and mayoral elections

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 by emailing elections@stroud.gov.uk or over the phone by calling 01453 766321. We will also write to you to confirm any change.

For more information about the Annual Canvas click here. For any other queries please contact the Elections Team at elections@stroud.gov.uk or by telephone on 01453 766321.

>2.1 What does a Councillor do?

Councillors are elected to represent a number of local residents in their electoral area. Councillors represent everyone in their area and not just those who voted for them, they have responsibilities to their ward, the Council and the community as a whole. You will be part of a public organisation which is working in partnership with other organisations across various services as well as improving service delivery and quality of life for local residents.

As a Councillor you will be expected to regularly attend Council meetings and be actively involved with your community. Councillors may also be chosen to represent the Council on Committees and outside bodies.

A District Councillor's role includes:

  • Representing your local ward
  • Advise residents of the Council services available
  • Attend Parish/Town Council meetings as appropriate
  • Help develop the Council's budget and agree the level of Council Tax
  • Regularly attend training to ensure knowledge is kept up to date
  • Decision making
  • Policy and strategy review and development
  • Regulatory duties
  • Community leadership and engagement.

>2.2 Why become a Councillor?

People become Councillors for a variety of reasons. Some want to give something back to the community, to further their interest in politics or to represent local people and try to influence decisions affecting their area.

No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to the quality of life of people in your local area and influence the way issues are dealt with locally and across the Stroud District.

In addition to wanting to make a difference, people may become a Councillor for the following reasons:

  • Having a concern about a specific issue and wanting to do something about it
  • In a time of scarce resources, having good ideas for doing more with less
  • To contribute business or professional skills
  • As an extension to what you are already doing through a charity, voluntary group or school governing body
  • It can be a career enhancing opportunity, allowing you to develop leadership and analytical skills.

>2.3 Am I able to stand for election to become a Councillor?

You can be a Councillor for several Councils at the same time, such as a County Council, District Council and Parish/Town Council. You can also be a Councillor if you have a full time job and by law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your duties as a Councillor.

You cannot stand for election as either a District or Parish/town Councillor if you already work for the Council, are subject to bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order, have a criminal conviction involving a prison sentence or suspended sentence of not less than 3 months in the last 5 years or have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court.

You do not need to belong to a political party to stand for election.

County/District Councillor

You can stand as a candidate to become a County/District Councillor if:

  • You are over 18 or over on the day you submit your nomination paper and are a British, Commonwealth or European Union Citizen;

And at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Are either a registered local government elector in the electoral area you are wanting to stand as a candidate, or
  • Have resided in the area for the whole 12 months preceding the day of nominations, or
  • Work in the electoral area you wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
  • Own property in the electoral area you are wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months).

Parish/Town Councillor

You can stand as a candidate to become a Parish/Town Councillor if:

  • You are over 18 or over on the day you submit your nomination paper and are a British, Commonwealth or European Union Citizen

And at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Are either a registered local government elector in the electoral area you are wanting to stand as a candidate, or
  • Have resided in the area for the whole 12 months preceding the day of nominations, or
  • Work in the electoral area you wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
  • Own property in the electoral area you are wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
  • For the whole of the previous 12 months you have lived in the Parish/Town or within 3 miles of the boundary.

>2.4 Do I get paid?

>2.5 What other support will I get?

As a District Councillor, to assist you in carrying out your duties you will be able to access advice from Democratic Services as well a range of officers at the Council.

District Councillors will be required to undertake ongoing member development training throughout their term as a Councillor. Councillors may also request permission to attend external training seminars and conferences which the Council may be able to fund. 

Comprehensive Member Induction Training is also provided to all District Councillors which covers numerous topics and include some of the following:

  • Council Finance
  • GDPR and Data Protection
  • Introduction to Planning
  • Chair and Public Speaking
  • Code of Conduct
  • Licensing
  • Introduction to Housing and Development

Stroud District Council recognises and values the diversity of the local community and believe that equality is central to the provision of modern quality services. Ideally the membership of the Council should reflect the diversity of the population in the District, with a wide range of backgrounds, interests and all needs represented. We would welcome conversations with anyone who is thinking of standing as a Councillor who may need additional support or reasonable adjustments so that we can help to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to stand for election and undertake the role of Councillor. For further information about support available please contact democratic.services@stroud.gov.uk or phone us on 01453 766321.

>2.6 How much time will I have to spend on Council duties?

How much time you spend on your duties as a Councillor is largely up to you and will depend on the particular commitments you take on.

Each Councillor will spend varying amounts of time on their Councillor work, however generally a District Councillor will spend up to 25 hours a week on Council work.

Members with Group Leader or Chairing roles will have greater workload and therefore will invariably spend additional hours on their Council work.

As a District Councillor you will be expected to attend Committee meetings, information briefings and training sessions which are often held during the evening, however there may be meetings with Officers that you are required to attend during the day. As with most things in life, what you get back will depend on how much you put in.

Before you consider becoming a Councillor, you may wish to discuss it with your family and friends to make sure they understand the commitment you are taking on.

>2.7 How do I stand as a candidate for election?

Information about the nominations process and template nomination forms for the election on 2 May 2024 will be updated in due course.

Elections are held for District and Parish/Town Councillors every four years where all seats will be re-elected at the same time. The next local elections in Stroud are taking place in May 2024.


To stand as a candidate, you will need to complete a set of nomination papers for the electoral area you are wanting to represent. These will be available from your local Parish/Town Council or from Stroud District Council's Offices in February 2024. The Democratic Services and Elections Office will be able to answer any questions you may have in relation to the nomination process as will the Parish/Town Clerk.

When you complete your nomination papers, you will need to show that you have been formally nominated by a particular number of registered electors in the electoral area you are wishing to stand. These are as follows:

  • District Elections - A proposer and seconder who support your nomination in the District ward you are wanting to represent.
  • Parish/Town Elections - A proposer and seconder who support your nomination in the Parish/Town or Parish Ward (if the Parish/Town is warded) you are wanting to represent.

If you are thinking of standing as a candidate on behalf of a political party, you must contact the local branch of that party first, as they may be in the process of selecting candidates for future elections. You will also need to have consent from the party to stand on their behalf and obtain a signature from the nominating officer.

You do not need to stand on behalf of a political party to be a District or Parish/Town Councillor. If you want to stand independently as a District Councillor, you must use the description 'Independent' on your nomination form.

Further guidance for candidates standing as an Independent or on behalf of a political party can be found on the Electoral Commission website at both District and Parish/Town level.

>2.8 Do I need to be a member of a Political Party to stand?

You do not need to be part of a Political Party in order to stand for election. You could stand as an Independent Councillor find out more about either option below:

To stand for a political party, you’ll need to be a member of the party, get involved locally and go through their selection process to be put forward as their candidate for election. Depending on which party you are interested in, this can take up to about a year, so please contact your political party as soon as you can to start getting involved.

If you are interested in becoming an independent candidate (not in a political party), you can get resources and advice from the Local Government Association’s Independent Office.

For more information about becoming a Councillor click here.

>3.1 What is a Community Governance Review?

A Community Governance Review is a way for district councils to make sure that, at parish level, governance arrangements are working as efficiently and effectively as they should be. This is achieved by asking the public, parish councils and any interested parties whether they feel their communities are suitably represented and whether parish councils would like to see any changes made to their current governance arrangements.

We have the power to undertake such reviews under Part 4 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and the relevant national guidance document.

The Council is required to consult with local government electors living in the Stroud District as well as any other individuals and organisations (including local authorities such as parish councils) who 'appear to have an interest in the review'.

The Council must take into account all representations that it receives during the review's periods of consultation and will make all representations available for public viewing.

>3.2 What can a Community Governance Review do?

A Community Governance Review can make a number of changes to parish councils when there is clear evidence to do so:

  • Creating, merging, altering or abolishing parishes;
  • Change electoral arrangements for parishes including the ordinary year of an election, number of parish councillors and changes to parish wards;
  • Convert a parish council to a parish meeting;
  • Change the name or the style of a new parish/town council or parish meeting; and
  • Group parishes together under a common parish.

>3.3 What can a Community Governance Review not do?

  • Change the number of district or county councillors;
  • Change a district or county council ward boundaries;
  • Change the amount of money that a parish council raises through your council tax (known as ‘precept’);
  • Change individual parish councillors; and
  • Create a unitary authority

>3.4 What roles do Parish Councils perform?

Parish councils are the most local form of government. They collect money from Council Tax payers (via the district council) known as a "precept" and this is used to invest in the area to improve services or facilities. Parish councils can take different forms but usually are made up of local people who stand for election as parish councillors to represent their area. They can be the voice of the local community and work with other tiers of government and external organisations to co-ordinate and deliver services and work to improve the quality of life in the area.

>3.5 What are grouped parishes??

It may best be considered as a working alliance of parishes that have come together under a common parish council, with the electors of each of the grouped parishes electing a designated number of councillors to the council. It has been found to be an effective way of ensuring parish government for small parishes that might otherwise be unviable as separate units, while otherwise guaranteeing their separate community identity.

The council recognises that the grouping of parishes needs to be compatible with the retention of community interests and notes the government's guidance that "it would be inappropriate for it to be used to build artificially large units under single parish councils." A grouping order is permitted under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1972.

>3.6 What are Parish Wards?

Parishes or towns can be divided into wards for the purpose of electing councillors. Again, this could depend upon the size and make up of a proposed council. The government guidance requires that consideration be given to the number of and distribution of local government electors which could make a single election of councillors impractical or inconvenient or it may be desirable for areas within the town or parish to be separately represented.

The government's guidance is that "the warding of parishes in largely rural areas that are based predominantly on a single centrally-located village may not be justified. Conversely, warding may be appropriate where the parish encompasses a number of villages with separate identities, a village with a large rural hinterland or where, on the edges of towns, there has been some urban overspill into the parish."

>3.7 What is a community governance order?

The review will be completed when the council adopts a Reorganisation of Community Governance Order. The Order will specify when it will take effect for financial and administrative purposes and when the electoral arrangements for a new or existing parish council will come into force.

Copies of this Order, the map(s) that show the effects of the order in detail and the document(s) which set out the reasons for the decisions that the council has taken (including where it has decided to make no change following a review), will be deposited at the council's offices and website.

In accordance with the guidance issued by the government, the council will issue maps to illustrate each recommendation at a scale that will not normally be smaller than 1:10,000. These maps will be deposited with the Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government and at the council’s offices. Prints will also be supplied, in accordance with the regulations, to Ordnance Survey, the Registrar General, the Land Registry, the Valuation Office Agency, the Boundary Commission for England and the Electoral Commission.

>3.8 What do "electoral arrangements" mean?

An important part of our review will comprise giving consideration to electoral arrangements. The term covers the way in which a council is constituted for the parish. It covers:

  • The ordinary year in which elections are held;
  • The number of councillors to be elected to the council;
  • The division (or not) of the parish into wards for the purpose of electing councillors;
  • The number and boundaries of any such wards;
  • The number of councillors to be elected for any such ward; and
  • The name of any such ward. The government's guidance is that "each area should be considered on its own merits, having regard to its population, geography and the pattern of communities," and therefore the council is prepared to pay particular attention to existing levels of representation, the broad pattern of existing council sizes which have stood the test of time and the take-up of seats at elections in its consideration of this matter. The Aston Business School found the following levels of representation to the good running of a council:
  • Parishes wishing to increase numbers must give strong reasons for doing so. The number of parish or town councillors for each council must be not less than five but can be greater. However, each parish grouped under a common parish council must have at least one parish councillor.

>3.9 Is there an ideal size for a Parish Council?

The National Association of Local Councils provides the following guidance regarding the number of Parish/Town Councillors:

Electors

Councillors

Electors

Councillors

1 – 900

7

3501 - 4400

12

901 – 1400

8

4401 - 5400

13

1401 – 2000

9

5401 - 6500

14

2001 – 2700

10

6501 - 7700

15

2701 – 3500

11

11,800 – 13,300

18

Research by the Aston Business School Parish and Town Councils in England (HMSO, 1992), found that the typical parish council sizes were as follows:

Electors

Councillors

< 500

5-8

501 - 2,500

6 - 12

2501 - 10,000

9 - 16

10,001 - 20,000

13 -27

>20,000

13 - 31

 

For more information regarding Community Governance Reviews click here.

>4.1 Where is my polling station?

Prior to every election polling cards are sent to all registered electors containing details of how to vote, where and when to vote.

You can also find the location of your polling station by entering your postcode on the following webpage: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/my-house

>4.2 I have lost my polling card, can I still vote?

If you have lost your poll card, just go to your polling station with your photographic ID and tell the staff inside your full name, address and present your ID and you will be able to vote.

For further information on voter ID and which photographic ID is acceptable please click here.

>4.3 Do I need to take ID to the Polling station?

You currently do not need to show ID to vote however this will change from May 2023, click here for more information. You will need to give the polling staff your full name and address. They will then mark against your name in the register and provide you with your ballot paper(s).

From 4 May 2023 you will be required to take photo ID to the polling station and therefore residents of Painswick and Upton will need to take an acceptable form of ID to the polling station on 17 May 2023. For the full list of acceptable ID please click here. - RE LINK!

>4.4 What time are the polling stations open?

Polling Stations are open on the day of poll from 7am-10pm.

>4.5 I cannot get to a polling station, how can I vote?

If you cannot get to the polling station you can apply for a postal or proxy vote, subject to submitting an application form before the deadlines.

 

Deadline to apply for a postal vote - 11 working days before date of Poll

Deadline to apply for a proxy vote - 6 working days before date of Poll

Emergency Proxy

In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you can't vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy, to allow someone you trust to vote on your behalf at your polling station. This must be due to reasons that you weren't aware of before the Proxy Voting deadline (6 working days before the day of Poll).

You may be able to request an emergency proxy if one of the following applies:

You have a medical emergency

You are away for work

Please download and complete the relevant application form from the links above and return to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Stroud, GL5 4UB or send a clear scan or photo of the completed form by email to elections@stroud.gov.uk. The completed application form needs to be returned by 5pm on the day of Poll.

>4.6 I opted for a postal vote but I don't want to post it or it's too late to post it, what can I do?

You can deliver your postal vote pack (with ballot paper) to your local polling station (within your electoral ward) during polling hours (7am to 10pm).

You can also return it to the Council Offices (Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, GL5 4UB) during the run up to polling day but be sure you do this before 10pm on the day of Poll. Postal votes received after 10pm will not be counted.

>4.7 How do I cancel or amend my postal vote?

You must put your request to cancel in writing by no later than 11 working days before the day of Poll otherwise you will still be issued a postal voting pack. If you have signed up for a postal voting pack, you will not be able to be issued a ballot paper at your local polling station.

Please email elections@stroud.gov.uk or send a letter to the following address:

Electoral Services

Stroud District Council

Ebley Mill

Ebley Wharf

Stroud

GL5 4UB

Any amendments to your postal vote must be made by 5pm on the postal vote deadline (11 working days before the day of Poll). If you have any queries, please contact elections@stroud.gov.uk or call 01453 754886

>4.8 Where can I get my postal vote sent?

A postal vote can be sent to your home address or to any other address that you give. Postal Votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper by election day. In some instances a Proxy vote may be more appropriate for overseas voters where voters do not wish to rely on Overseas air mailing services.

>4.9 Can anyone vote?

To vote in elections and referendums you have to be 18 or over. You must also be a British, British Overseas Territory, Irish or Commonwealth citizen. Your name must also be on the Electoral Register, otherwise even if you meet the above criteria you will not be able to vote. If you would like to check if you are on the electoral register please complete this form.

>4.10 You have been taken ill or been in an accident, can you still vote?

You can apply to vote by proxy for emergency medical reasons up until 5pm on election day.

In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you can't vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy, to allow someone you trust to vote on your behalf at your polling station. This must be due to reasons that you weren't aware of before the proxy vote deadline (5pm, 6 working days before the day of Poll).

You may be able to request an emergency proxy if one of the following applies:

You have a medical emergency

Please download and complete the relevant application form from the links above and return to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Stroud, GL5 4UB or send a clear scan or photo of the completed form by email to elections@stroud.gov.uk. The completed application form needs to be returned by 5pm on the day of Poll.

>4.11 I have been called away at the last minute with work and am unable to make it to the polling station, what can I do?

You can apply for an emergency proxy, your request for an emergency proxy must be due to reasons that you weren't aware of before proxy vote deadline (5pm, 6 working days before the day of Poll). You will need to obtain a form from us which will need to be countersigned by your employer, there are also provisions for anyone who is self-employed.

Emergency Proxy application form - work 

Please download and complete the relevant application form from the links above and return to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Stroud, GL5 4UB or send a clear scan or photo of the completed form by email to elections@stroud.gov.uk. The completed application form needs to be returned by 5pm on the day of Poll.

>4.12 I have not received any information about the candidates or parties, how can I make an informed decision?

In the lead up to an election, the details of the candidates will be shown on the Notice of Poll, which will be displayed on the election page on the website. Information regarding the candidates is the responsibility of the individuals or parties concerned, so if you have not heard anything you would need to contact them. Electoral Services are not able to provide any information on the candidates.

>5.1 Voter ID

>5.1.1 What photographic ID will be accepted in polling stations?

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state, or a Commonwealth Country
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration document
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • A Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge 
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person's Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person's Bus Pass
  • An Oyster 60+ Card
  • A Freedom Pass
  • A Scottish National Entitlement Card issued in Scotland
  • A 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Disabled Person's Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Senior SmartPass Issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Persons SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • An Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland

Expired photographic ID documents can still be used as accepted photographic ID at the polling station or signing place, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of the elector. 

The Voter Authority Certificate cannot be used or accepted as proof of identity for any other purpose other than voting.

>5.1.2 What if I don't have an acceptable form of ID?

Where an elector does not hold one of the acceptable forms of photographic ID listed above, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate free of charge following verification of an applicants identity. 

An elector can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate in a number of ways:

>5.1.3 Why has voter identification been introduced into polling stations?

It is following a 2019 Manifesto to 'protect the integrity of our democracy, by introducing identification to vote at polling stations' following a Central Government pledge.

>5.1.4 Will photocopies of identification documents or pictures on mobile phones of identification documents be accepted?

No, photocopies or copies of images on mobile phones or other electronic devices will not be accepted as photo-editing software could be used to edit the documents and therefore could be subject to fraudulent alteration. 

>5.1.5 What happens if I cannot provide acceptable photographic ID at the polling station?

You will be advised to leave the polling station and to return with one of the acceptable forms of ID to allow the polling station staff to issue a ballot paper.

>5.1.6 Will expired identification accepted?

Yes, expired documents will be accepted as long as the photograph on the document still resembles a likeness of the elector.

>5.1.7 What are the photograph requirements when submitting an application for a Voter Authority Certificate?

Anyone wanting to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate must provide a suitable photograph either through the Gov.uk application process or submitted with a paper application which meets the following requirements:

  • A Close-up photograph of the head and shoulders 
    • without any other items or persons in the background
    • without any covering of the head unless worn for religious beliefs or medical reasons. 
  • In sharp focus and clear (not blurry) 
  • In colour and taken against a plain, light background
  • Free from redeye, shadows and not in the reflection of windows or mirrors
  • Resembles a true likeness of the applicant without alteration.

 The applicant photo must show them:

  • Facing forwards
  • With nothing covering the face
  • Looking straight at the camera
  • With a plain facial expression 
  • With eyes open and visible (e.g. no sunglasses or being covered by hair).

>5.1.8 My name on the electoral register and my photographic ID are different, what do I do?

If your name has changed (e.g. through marriage, deed poll etc), you may be asked to provide additional supporting documents, such as a marriage or civil partnership certificate that provides evidence of the name change. 

If the spelling of your name is spelt incorrectly or an alternative spelling is present to the one on the electoral register, it will be the Presiding Officers discretion on whether they will accept the form of ID at the polling station. 

>5.1.9 What is the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate?

Where Stroud does not have any scheduled polls, there is no deadline.

Where Stroud does have scheduled elections (next scheduled elections are May 2024) the deadline to apply will be 5pm six working days ahead of any poll. Where an elector is registered and they have missed the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, they can apply for an emergency proxy, however the proxy will need to present their photographic identification at the polling station.

>5.1.10 Can the Voter Authority Certificate be used as proof of age/identity outside of the polling station?

 No, the Voter Authority Certificate can only be used as photographic identification for the purposes of elections and voting within the polling station, it cannot be used as proof of age or identity for any other purpose or function. 

>5.1.11 What happens if I have lost my photographic ID or Voter Authority Certificate?

 In this circumstance, where the elector has lost all forms of photographic ID or the Voter Authority Certificate ahead of the 5pm deadline 6 working days before any scheduled poll (next scheduled elections are May 2024) and they do not have any of the other forms of acceptable ID, they can reapply for a Voter Authority Certificate. 

Where an elector has lost, destroyed, damaged or had their photographic ID stolen and they become aware of this after the 5pm deadline 6 working days before poll to apply for the Voter Authority Certificate, there will be the provision for an elector to appoint an emergency proxy for that polling day.

>5.1.12 I have a proxy/emergency proxy in place, does my proxy have to bring photographic ID to vote on my behalf?

Yes, anyone who has appointed a proxy or emergency proxy to vote on your behalf, the proxy must bring their own photographic ID to present at the polling station. They do not need to bring photographic ID of you (the elector they are voting on behalf of) they only need to bring their own ID.

If the proxy does not have a form of acceptable form of photographic ID, they can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. 

>5.1.13 Do I need to show photographic ID to hand in a postal vote?

No, electors will not be required to show photographic ID to hand deliver a postal vote to a polling station.

>5.1.14 What will the Voter Authority Certificate look like?

The Voter Authority Certificate is expected to be an A4 sized paper based document which will include:

  • Full name of the applicant
  • Photograph of the applicant
  • Date of issue
  • Appropriate Identifier (generated once application has been verified comprised of 20 numbers or letters)
  • Sentence advising the certificate was issued by the Electoral Registration Officer for Stroud District Council
  • A recommended renewal date (10 years from date of issue)
  • One or more security measures recommended by the Home Secretary. 

Once verified by the Electoral Registration Officer, it is expected that the Voter Authority Certificate will be printed within 1-2 working days and delivered by Royal Mail unless the applicant advices they want to collect their Voter Authority Certificate from the Council Offices at Ebley Mill.

>5.1.15 How long will my Voter Authority Certificate be valid for?

The Voter Authority Certificate will have a recommended renewal date listed on the document for 10 years from the date of issue. 

>5.1.16 I have applied for my Voter Authority Certificate however I have not received it yet, what do I do?

We advise that you contact the Elections Office on 01453 754886 or by emailing elections@stroud.gov.uk if you have not received your Voter Authority Certificate within 2 weeks of application where there are no scheduled elections due to take place in Stroud.

Where a scheduled election is due to take place in Stroud (next scheduled elections are May 2024) and you applied before the 5pm deadline 6 working days before poll, you contact the Elections office immediately so we can investigate and advise on the next course of action.

>5.1.17 Do I need to reapply for my Voter Authority Certificate/Anonymous Elector Document if I change address?

Applicants who are applying for the Voter Authority Certificate will not need to reapply for a new Voter Authority Certificate if they have changed address (either within the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority) within the recommended 10 year renewal date. This is because the address of the applicant is not listed on the certificate.

Anonymous applicants will have to reapply for a Anonymous Elector Document if they change address (either within the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority) because their elector number will be different at their new address.

>5.1.18 I am an anonymous elector, do I need to provide photographic ID?

Yes,  anonymous electors wishing to vote in person at the polling station will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document (AEDs) and present this document at the polling station along with their anonymous poll card.

The Anonymous Elector's Document will be the only form of identification that an anonymous elector will be able to provide and use at the polling station, they will not be able to present any other form of ID, including the acceptable photographic ones. This is because an anonymous electors name does not appear on the electoral register and therefore no other form of documentation would prove their identity and eligibility to have a ballot paper issued. 

Anonymous electors will be required annually to reapply and renew their Anonymous Elector Document by providing a new photo as part of the application process at the time of their annual declaration renewal. The Electoral Registration Officer will also issue a replacement document if they renumber their electoral register (the anonymous applicant will not need to reapply in this scenario). 

The Anonymous Elector Document is expected to be an A4 sized paper based document with appropriate security features and will not display the applicants name and instead will be replaced with the elector number of the applicant.

>5.1.19 Will my poll card change?

Yes, poll cards will still be sent to every registered elector however rather than being A5 size, they will be A4 sized and enclosed in an envelope. They will also list all acceptable forms of photographic ID on the poll card.

>5.1.20 What will happen in the polling station?

Only the Presiding Officer and Poll Clerk at the polling station can inspect the electors photographic identification.

The polling station staff will first check whether the elector is listed on the register of electors for that polling station (we are advising electors continue to take their poll cards to the polling station which will assist the polling station staff is locating their name on the electoral register). Once the polling station staff have found the elector on the register of electors, they will then ask the elector to present their acceptable form of photographic identification. The polling station staff will then proceed to check the photographic identification provided resembles a likeness to the elector and check that the name matches on the register of electors.

Where the polling station staff are satisfied the photographic identification resembles the elector, a ballot paper will be issued to the elector to cast their vote.

Where the polling station staff are not satisfied the photographic identification resembles the elector, no ballot paper(s) will be issued and instead the polling station staff will be required to log and record the reason for refusal along with the elector number. The elector can return to the polling station and provide another form of photographic identification and the above process will be repeated to check it’s likeliness.

All polling stations will also be required to have a private area for the checking of photographic identification if the elector requests so.

>5.1.21 Can I still apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if I already have an acceptable form of ID?

Yes, you are still able to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, however if you already have one of the acceptable forms of photographic identification then you do not need to also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. 

>5.1.22 I don't want to provide photographic identification in the polling station, what do I do?

If you do not want to show photographic identification at the polling station, you can apply to vote by post or proxy. Photographic identification is not required to apply for a postal or proxy vote, however if you choose to set up a proxy, your proxy will be required to show their photographic identification at the polling station.

>5.2 How do I vote?

Please see below for the different ways to vote and the FAQ's that accompany them. 

>5.2.1 Voting in person

How do I vote in person?

Polling stations are open from 7am - 10pm on the day of poll. 

  • The staff at the polling station will give you a ballot paper listing the candidate(s) you can vote for. You may be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election taking place in your local area on the same day.
  • Take your ballot paper into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote. Read the ballot paper carefully, it will tell you how to cast your vote. Do not write anything else on the paper or your vote may not be counted.
  • Mark your ballot paper according to the instructions. A pencil will be provided for you to do this, but you may use your own pen if you prefer.
  • If you make a mistake on your ballot paper, don't worry – so long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can issue you with a replacement ballot paper.
  • Fold your completed ballot paper in half, show the back to the Presiding Officer and then pop it in the ballot box – and that's it done!

From May 2023 you will need to show an acceptable form of photo ID at your polling station to cast your vote. For more information regarding Voter ID please click here.

For more information on voting in person, click here: Further information

What if I need assistance at the polling station?

If you are disabled, you can ask for help and the Presiding Officer can mark the ballot paper for you. You can also ask someone else to help you (e.g. a support worker, as long as they are either a relative or an eligible elector and have not already helped more than one other person vote).

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask to see a large print ballot paper or you can ask for a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret.

Who are the 'tellers' at the polling stations?

On election day volunteers for candidates called tellers wait outside polling stations and ask voters for the number on their polling card. They use this information to check who's voted so they can remind those who haven't to do so.

They are not acting in any official capacity so you don't need to give them any information if you don't want to.

If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to the presiding officer at the polling station.

Where is my polling station?

>5.2.2 Voting by post

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you cannot get to your polling station on polling day.

We must receive your application by post or email by 5pm 11 working days before the date of poll to ensure you are able to vote by post.

How do I vote by post?

When voting by post we will send you a postal voting statement and your ballot paper(s) to the address you have requested.  You are required to provide your date of birth and signature on the postal vote statement which you must return with your ballot papers. We check this information against the information you supply on your application form to make sure that no one else can use your vote.

Postal ballot papers are usually delivered 2 weeks before an election. If you will be on holiday or out of the country, we would strongly recommend that you nominate a proxy instead of voting by post.

You are now able to apply for a postal vote online at Apply for a postal vote - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

An elector will also be required to upload a clear copy or scan of a signature on a piece of plain white paper as part of your application to upload at the time of submitting. 

Apply to vote by post via paper application

If you cannot apply online, postal vote application forms are available to download below or can be required from Electoral Services by emailing elections@stroud.gov.uk or calling 01453 766321.

Postal Vote Application Form

When will I receive my ballot papers?

Postal ballots can only be sent out once the deadline to become a candidate has passed and the ballot papers have subsequently been produced and printed. You can contact the Elections Office by emailing elections@stroud.gov.uk or phoning 01453 766321 to find out when your postal ballot papers will be issued.

Once you've got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back so that it arrives by 10pm on the day of the election or referendum. If it arrives later than this, your vote won't be counted.

What do I do with my postal ballot paper?

When you get your postal voting papers

  • Put them somewhere safe
  • Don't let anyone else handle them
  • Make sure they are not left where someone else can pick them up

When you want to vote

  • Complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
  • Don't let anyone else vote for you
  • Don't let anyone else see your vote
  • Don't give the ballot paper to anyone else
  • Put the ballot paper in the envelope and seal it up yourself
  • Complete and sign the postal voting statement
  • Put the postal voting statement and the envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger supplied envelope and seal it.

When you return your postal vote

  • Take it to the post box yourself, if you can
  • If you can't do that, either give it to somebody you know and trust to post it for you
  • Don't hand it to a candidate or party worker unless no other way is practical
  • Don't leave it where someone else can pick it up

For more information regarding postal votes, click here.

Can my postal vote be sent abroad?

Yes, your postal vote can be sent overseas however please consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper by election day. 

>5.2.3 Voting by proxy

Voting by proxy is where you nominate someone you trust to vote on your behalf. You may wish to do this if you are going to be away on polling day and voting by post is not a suitable option.

Your nominated proxy has to vote at your normal polling station so you must make sure that they are available on polling day.

If you will be on holiday or out of the country, we would strongly recommend that you nominate a proxy.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for any upcoming elections is no later than 5pm 6 working days before the date of poll.

How do I vote by proxy?

Apply for a proxy vote - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you cannot apply online, the appropriate form can be downloaded below and returned to elections@stroud.gov.uk, dropped off at Ebley Mill or posted to Electoral Services, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Ebley Wharf, Stroud, Glos, GL5 4UB. 

Proxy Vote Application Form

Emergency Proxy

Emergency Proxy deadline - 5pm on the day of poll

In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you can't vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy, to allow someone you trust to vote on your behalf at your polling station. This must be due to reasons that you weren't aware of before the proxy deadline.

You may be able to request an emergency proxy if one of the following applies:

You have a medical emergency

- You are away for work

- Voter ID

Please contact us to request a copy of the specific emergency proxy form that you require by emailing us at elections@stroud.gov.uk or phoning 01453 766321. The completed application form needs to be returned by 5pm on the day of poll.

Am I eligible to vote by proxy?

Anyone who is registered can apply for a proxy vote.

When you apply for a proxy vote you must provide a reason. You can apply for a proxy vote if:

  • you are unable to go to the polling station for one particular election, for example, if you are away on holiday
  • you have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • your employment means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • your attendance on an educational course means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • you are a British citizen living overseas
  • you are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces

The person you wish to appoint as your proxy can only act as proxy if they are 18 or over and they are (or will be) registered for that election or referendum.

A person cannot be a proxy for more than two people at any one election or referendum, unless they are a close relative.

I have been appointed as a proxy what do I do?

If you have been appointed as someone’s proxy, this means you can cast their vote on their behalf.

You can only be a proxy for close relatives (defined as your spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild) and up to two other people.

You can only act as proxy if you are 18 or over (16 or over in Scotland at Scottish Parliamentary and local council elections) and you are (or will be) registered for that election or referendum.

The person who appointed you will tell you how they want you to vote on their behalf, for example, which candidate, party, or outcome.

How to vote as someone’s proxy

You must go to the polling station of the person who appointed you as their proxy.  If you can’t go to their polling station, you can apply to vote for them by post up to 5pm, 11 working days before the poll

You will receive a proxy poll card telling you where and when to cast their vote for them.

If you don’t receive a proxy poll card, you should check with the local council of the person who has appointed you as their proxy. They will be able to tell you where to go to vote.

The person who appointed you as their proxy may still vote in person, provided they do so before you have voted for them, or you have not applied to vote for them by post.

 

Click here for more information regarding proxy votes or postal proxy votes.

>5.3 Voting with a disability

What if I need assistance at the polling station?

If you are disabled, you can ask for help and the Presiding Officer can mark the ballot paper for you. You can also ask someone else to help you (e.g. a support worker, as long as they are either a relative or an eligible elector and have not already helped more than one other person vote).

Anyone over the age of 18 can act as a companion to assist you in the polling station. Any companion will be required to complete a declaration by companion to confirm they have assisted an elector in the polling station/voting booth.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask to see a large print ballot paper or you can ask for a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret.

How to use a Tactile Voting Device

This Tactile Voting Device is a device that can be attached to a ballot paper to align the numbers on the numbered flaps with each voting box in line of each candidates. 

A companion or the Presiding Officer at the polling station would read out the name and descriptions of each candidate in the order they appear on the ballot paper advising what number on the numbered flaps they align with. 

When the elector is ready to cast their vote, they will lift the relevant numbered flap(s) to reveal the box on the ballot paper where they would then make their mark(s) on their ballot paper(s). The Tactile Voting Device is then removed from the ballot paper and the elector can proceed with placing their ballot paper(s) into the ballot box.

 

For more information about voting with a disability click here.

If you have a question which isn't listed above, please contact us using the details below.

By Email:elections@stroud.gov.uk

By Telephone: 01453 766321

By Post:

Electoral Services
Stroud District Council
Ebley Mill
Ebley Wharf
Stroud
GL5 4UB

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