Annual update of electoral register

What is the canvass?

The Electoral Registration Officer has a duty to carry out an annual canvass. The canvass takes place in order to maintain an up-to-date electoral register and to ensure that all individuals in a household, who are eligible to vote, are registered to do so in any forthcoming elections or referendums. To do this we send out, each year, a Household Enquiry Form to every residential property in West Suffolk.

The local elections will be taking place on 2 May 2019 for the new West Suffolk Council and for town and parish councils.

For the 2019 annual canvass, the Household Enquiry Forms (HEFs) will be sent to all households in West Suffolk on Friday 12 July 2019 and we ask that you respond by Thursday 1 August 2019 so that we don’t have to send you a reminder form or ask a canvasser to make a personal visit.

If you are currently registered, your name will appear on the form. You should check that the information on the form is correct before responding. You can help us to save money by responding online, by phone or by text. Alternatively, you can complete the form and return it using the prepaid envelope provided.

If the form is blank, this means that no one is registered at this property. Please remember – if you are not registered to vote you cannot take part in any elections or referendums.

How to respond during the canvass

If there are any changes to be made such as adding new names and deleting old names, you can respond:

  • online - go to www.householdresponse.com/westsuffolk and enter part 1 and part 2 of your security code, printed on the front page of your form and follow the instructions given, or
  • form – complete the form and then post it back to use in the envelope provided.

If nothing has changed and the information on the form is correct, you can also:

  • phone – call 0800 197 9871 and when prompted enter part 1 and part 2 of your security code, or
  • text – text NOCHANGE followed by your security code to 80212.

Please do not forget to include anyone who is 16, 17 or 18. By responding to the form this gives us information about who is entitled to be registered at your property.

The HEF is not a registration to vote form. Once we know who is eligible to register to vote in a household, we will send a form called an Invitation to Register (ITR) to all individuals who are currently not on the electoral register. The ITR asks for details including date of birth, nationality and national insurance number. However, it is quicker to provide this information by visiting the gov.uk website instead of waiting for the ITR to be sent. 

Personal visits by canvassers

Starting on Monday 2 September until Tuesday 15 October 2019, canvassers will be visiting properties that haven’t responded to the HEF. The canvassers will be using an electronic device to collect information which will be kept secure. This device will synchronise with our electoral register so that the details are always up to date.

For anyone that needs to be added to the register, the canvasser will also be able to collect the date of birth and National Insurance number. Because this is done electronically, it means that the elector’s information will be secure and will be verified more quickly without the need to send out further forms.

Frequently asked questions 

I have recently registered, do I still need to complete this form?
Yes – as this will confirm that your details haven’t changed to enable to you to be included on the new register which will be published on 1 December 2019.

The form sent to my address has the names of people who do not live here, what should I do?
All forms contain the pre-printed details of electors who are currently registered at that address. If the people listed on the form no longer live there, you can update this information online or you can amend the form and return it to us.

I will be moving house soon, what should I do?
If you are moving house, and the property will be empty for a while, please cross out all the names printed, sign the form and return it to us. However, if there will be new people living in the property then please do not return the form. Instead cross your names out and leave the form for the new occupiers to complete. A form should be waiting for you at your new property but if not, contact your local electoral services office for one to be sent to you. You can get their contact details from the About My Vote website.

No one in our house is eligible to register.  Do I still need to send the form back?
Yes – if there is no one eligible to be registered at your address then please state this on the form and sign the declaration. If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible to register, please contact our helpline.

I have recently changed my name – what should I do?
If your name has changed, please amend your name when responding online or on the form provided. You will then be sent a change of name form and you will need to provide your previous and new name and the date of the change. You will also need to provide evidence to support the change of name, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll certificate.

I am concerned about my personal safety. Do I need to fill in this form?
You might be eligible to register to vote anonymously. Please contact us at elections@westsuffolk.gov.uk for more details.