If you want to have your say in any future election make sure you return your voting forms

Published: Thursday, August 1, 2019

The council’s annual electoral canvass is now underway as town hall staff update the electoral register to make sure it includes the names of every eligible voter.

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The register is updated each and every year to make sure it’s as complete and as up-to-date as possible.

In the past few days all households in the borough will have received letters asking them to confirm the names of everyone living there who is already of voting age or just about to reach it.

It is a legal requirement for households to fill in and return their registration forms to the town hall even if they do not wish to vote or are ineligible.

People who don’t return their forms run the very real risk that when they go to their local polling station on election day - they won’t be able to vote because their names are not on the register.

Providing the necessary information is quick and easy and should not take more than a couple of minutes.

Households can confirm their details using the freephone, online or text (SMS) facility

People who choose to register in one of these easy and convenient ways must also have their registration form in front of them when doing so, as it contains a unique reference number they will need to quote. Details of how to use these methods to register appear on the forms.

Alternatively they can fill in their form and post it back to the town hall in the accompanying prepaid envelope. There is no need to use a stamp, but people must remember to sign the form.

Head of electoral services Andrew Smith said: "People should not assume they’re automatically registered now because they have voted in previous elections or because they pay council tax. We cannot use council tax records to update the register and are not able to rely on previous versions of the register.

"By law we must produce an updated register each year. It is therefore crucial that people fill in their forms if they want to exercise their democratic rights. If there is a general election at any time in the next 12 months, residents who want to take part in that need to act now."

There’s more information about how to register on the council’s website and at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote