What is the annual canvass?
Each year, by law, we conduct an annual canvass of the borough in order to update the electoral register. This is to find out if there are any changes to the household so we can remove the details of people who no longer live there and invite new occupants to register individually.
You are not automatically registered just because you pay council tax. Being registered to vote means you will be able to vote in elections and referendums and have your say in the issues that matter to you. A revised version of the electoral register will be published on 2 January 2021.
From July 2020, the way in which the annual canvass is undertaken will change across the UK. The aim of this is to streamline the process to make it easier for residents, while still ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register. As part of this, we will be using data and email communication to make the process simpler.
The reformed canvass process will start with an initial data matching exercise between national data (held by the Department for Work and Pensions) and some local data. From there, different correspondence will be sent to households where the data has matched, and to those where there was no match (either a no match or partial match).
What happens if the data matches?
All individuals registered in these households who have a valid email address will be sent an email that requires a response. These will be sent from email@example.com. To check if the email is genuine, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those households that do not respond and those that contain registered electors without a valid email address will be sent a paper form in September. This form only requires a response if there are changes to be made. Following this, no further communication is sent to the household.
What happens if there is no match?
The property will be sent a paper form which you must respond to, whether there are changes to make or not. You may be sent a reminder by email if we do not receive a response. We also need to know why a property has no eligible voters, for example, because the property is empty or is a second home.
Do I have to respond to the form?
Please make sure that you respond to the email or paper form you receive as soon as you can. Under Section 23 of the Representation of the Peoples Regulations 2001 it is a legal requirement to provide the information requested and you can be fined up to £1,000 for not doing so. Responding early will also help us save money, as if you do not respond we are required to send a reminder form and make follow up contact by telephone.
Responding to this year's annual canvass
This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing. Please consider responding online or by telephone wherever possible.
What do I need to do?
To respond to your email or paper form you need to make a note of your two part security code on the correspondence you receive. The easiest way to respond is online where you will be asked to update your household information and submit.
If there are no changes to the details for your household, you can also respond by telephone by calling freephone 0808 284 1511 (24 hours)
If you are unable to respond online or by telephone, alternatively you may complete the paper form and post it back to Electoral Services, Elmbridge Borough Council, Civic Centre, High Street, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9SD. However it will save the council money if you respond online or by telephone.
Registering to vote
Please note that the forms are not registration forms. Anyone added to the details pre-printed on the form will also need to register individually online.
Registering to vote means you have a right to vote in elections and can also improve your credit rating.
More information about registering to vote
The next scheduled elections will be held on Thursday 6 May 2021 for the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, Surrey County Council and Elmbridge Borough Council. In the light of recent events regarding Covid-19 you may wish to consider applying for a postal vote.
What happens to my data?