Call for Voter Registration as Annual Canvass Continues
South Tyneside Council is calling on people to make sure they are on the Electoral Register to help protect their right to vote.
Last month, residents across the Borough received a letter, or annual canvass form, to help identify those who are entitled to vote. Those receiving a letter were asked to check the details and respond online immediately if changes were needed. Those receiving a canvass form were asked to respond regardless if the information held was correct.
From Monday 17 August, residents who did not respond to the canvass form, may now receive an email, text message or a telephone call from the Elections Team.
Residents who receive an email or text will be asked to respond online immediately, where they will be able to:
- amend a name;
- add the names and nationality of any new occupants at the address;
- remove the names of those who no longer live at the address;
- request a postal vote application form;
- make changes to the open register;
- confirm that no changes are needed.
Responding to the email or text message does not automatically register new occupiers to vote. Anyone living at the address, who is not already registered, will also need to apply to register to vote.
People responding to the email or text online will be directed to go to the voter registration website www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, where they will be able to give all the details needed to apply to register to vote (including their date of birth and national insurance number).
Those who do not go online to apply to register will be sent an 'invitation to register' form in the post.
Residents who receive a telephone call will be asked to give all the information required to register any new residents during the call.
By law, the Electoral Registration Officer must visit the homes of those residents who do not respond to the canvass forms that have already been sent or do not respond to the reminder email or text message.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for democratic renewal, said: "The Council has a duty to maintain an accurate electoral register and it is very important that all adults and young people over the age of 16 living in the Borough are on it.
"We would advise people to look out for the email or text arriving and respond as soon as possible to protect their right to vote in local and general elections and in referendums.
"It is a requirement that we must visit the homes of those residents who do not respond to the canvass forms, emails or text messages. As this year's canvass is taking place during a challenging public health situation, we will be taking account of public health guidelines including the importance of social distancing.
"We are urging residents to respond immediately to reduce the need for house visits. This will help us to keep our residents, staff and their families safe and to minimise the risk of spreading the virus."
Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, added: "It's really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Making sure residents provide the necessary information to their local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers."
The Register of Electors will be used from 1 December 2020 to 30 November 2021.
For further information contact South Tyneside Council's Electoral Team on (0191) 424 7230 or email email@example.com
More details about electoral registration in South Tyneside is available on the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/elections Visit www.gov.uk/yourvotematters for further information about the electoral registration system.