South Tyneside to Begin Annual Canvass

Posted by: Press team on 13 July 2020 13:09

South Tyneside Council is calling on people to ensure they are on the Electoral Register and their right to vote is protected as it begins its annual canvass.

Residents are encouraged to look out for letters and canvass forms being delivered to homes across the Borough over the coming weeks to help the Council identify all those entitled to vote.

With elections taking place in South Tyneside in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.

The annual canvass ensures the Council can keep the Electoral Register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered and encouraged them to do so.

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 letter or form arriving and, where required, respond as soon as possible to protect their right to vote in local and general elections and referendums.

"Those not currently registered won't appear in the letters and forms we send. The easiest way to register is online at

"By law, we have to call at the homes of those residents who do not respond to the canvass forms.  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.

"However, we are urging residents to respond immediately once forms are received. This will reduce the need for house calls, helping us to keep our residents, staff and their families safe and to minimise the risk of spreading the virus."

Residents who receive a letter are asked to check the information printed and respond online if any changes are needed. Website details and security codes will be printed on the letter.

Residents who receive a canvass form must respond immediately, even if no changes are needed. Residents are encouraged to respond online, where they will be able to:

  • amend a name;
  • add the names, and nationality, of any new occupants;
  • remove the names of those who no longer live at the address;
  • confirm there are no changes needed;
  • request a postal vote application form;
  • make changes to the open register.

If there are no changes to make to the details printed on the canvass form, residents can respond by phone or by text.  The website, telephone numbers and security codes will be printed on the form. Alternatively, residents can complete and return the canvass form in the envelope provided.

Responding to the letter or canvass form does not automatically register new occupiers to vote. 

Any new occupiers, who are not listed on the letter or canvass form, will also need to apply to register to vote.  People responding to the letter or form online will be directed to submit 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.

People who have moved house recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the letters and forms and check the details.

Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. Across Great Britain, 92 per cent of people who have been at their property for more than 16 years will be registered, compared to 36 per cent of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said: "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 7230or email

More details about electoral registration in South Tyneside is available on the Council's website at Visit for further information about the electoral registration system.

Notes to Editors:

The Representation of the People Act 1983 places a duty on Electoral Registration Officers to maintain the electoral register for their area and to conduct an annual canvass of all residential properties.

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 or 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.

To be eligible to register to vote 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.

British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta) can vote in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. To date, the UK Government has not made changes to the eligibility of EU citizens, meaning at present they too can vote in these elections.

Full details of the Electoral Commission's research on the electoral registers can be found on its website.

Last modified: 08 October 2021 13:11