Annual household canvass (electoral register)
Where we hold email addresses for residents, we will be sending emails from 'BCP Council Electoral Services’ via the secure GOV.Notify service.
There will be a link in these emails to an external website hosted by Civica Election Services so responses can be made online.
The annual canvass process helps us update your household information on the electoral register. This means you will be eligible to vote in any future elections. We are required by law, to contact every household to obtain and confirm the names of residents. This usually happens between the months of July and November with the revised register being published by 1 December.
The household canvass is only the first part of the process. Once we have received responses from properties, we will then take steps to remove the names of people no longer resident and invite new residents to register individually.
The 2023 canvass
We will be using data and electronic communications, such as email and text messaging where possible, to make the process simpler. Residents will be directed to a website to respond.
Step 1: Data Matching
Data from the electoral register is uploaded securely to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) where it is matched against their records. In addition to this, we have the discretion to use local records (e.g. Council Tax records) to perform a data matching exercise.
Once that process is complete your property will be put into one of three categories, or routes:
- if all the registered people at a property can be matched with either of these databases the property will be sent down Route 1 canvass
- if there are any people at a property that cannot be matched the property will be sent down Route 2 canvass
- care homes, student halls and all other properties that have a responsible person i.e. a duty manager will be sent down Route 3 canvass.
Step 2: Communications and how to respond
Depending on the data matching process, some households will need to respond and some will not. This will be clearly stated on the communication that is sent to you.
When you receive a communication from us, please read the instructions carefully and respond where this is required.
Route 1 properties
- if we hold an email address for you, we will send you an email around 19 July 2023 to ask you to confirm that the details we have are correct - if you need to submit a change you will be able to do this as well
- if you do not respond, we will send a reminder email around 28 July 2023
- within the email there will be a web address (www.householdresponse.com/bcpcouncil) to access your property details - along with two security codes that are used as a log in to identify your property
- when logging in you will be asked for the post code of the property and then you will be able to confirm or change the details we hold for that property.
- if we do not hold an email address for you, or we do not receive a response from our email, we will send the property an A4 ‘Canvass Communication A’ form (CCA) around 14 August 2023, which will have the elector details listed on it - if they are correct you do not need to do anything more, if you would like to add or remove someone from the property, go to the website address and use the security codes on the form to log in and complete that change
- if you are unable to respond online and you have changes to submit, you can call us on 01202 123 400 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Route 2 properties
- we will send an A3 ‘Canvass Form’ to the property through the post around 21 July 2023 which will have elector details listed on it if we are aware of registered electors - a blank form will be sent if there are no registered electors
- we will need a response to this form even if there are no changes to report
- to respond, or if you would like to add or remove someone's name from the property, go to the website address on the form and use the security codes to log in and complete that change, or complete and return the form
- if you have no changes to submit you can also:
- call 0800 197 9871 for the freephone automated telephone service
- text NOCHANGE followed by your security code to 80212 (standard network charges apply)
- you can also complete and return the form using the pre-paid envelope.
- if we do not receive a response to the form by 14 August 2023, we will make further attempts to get a response from you. This may be by:
- a ‘Canvass Communication B’ form (CCB) sent out around 22 August
- a visit to your property.
Route 3 properties
Examples of the forms
Canvass forms are prescribed by law and cannot be changed. Examples of the forms that we could send to you are:
If you've recently moved home or turned 16 to 18 years old
If you have recently turned 16 to 18 years old or moved into a property recently you have to register to vote. Even if you have registered for council tax, your details will not be entered onto the electoral register automatically.
If you can't register to vote online, then you can either:
- call us on 01202 123 400
- complete the canvass form and we will send a paper application when we receive a response back from you.
If you delete someone’s details, we may write to the individual to confirm they no longer live there.
Special category electors
Your name will not appear on the form sent to the property if you’re a special category elector, such as a service voter or overseas voter.
If you are a student studying away from home, you can register at both your home address and your term time address. You will be able to vote in both places, but not for the same election.
This means you can vote in local elections at both addresses if they are in different local government areas but cannot vote at both addresses in a Parliamentary election.
What happens if you don't respond
Up until the 30 November, you may receive a reminder by either:
- further forms in the post
- visit to your property.
If you do not respond, an Electoral Canvasser will make a visit to collect the information.
If you are not registered to vote, you will be unable to have your say in any future elections or referendums.
Credit Reference Agencies use the electoral Register for credit checking purposes, so if your name is not included you may experience difficulties in obtaining credit when applying for goods or services.