TEAMS of canvassers have begun knocking on doors across Reading for households who have not yet responded to the Electoral Services Annual Audit household enquiry forms.
Back in July the Council sent the forms to addresses in Reading and urged residents to fill them in and return them as quickly as possible. Out of a total of 71,863 forms sent out, 63.94% have been returned so far. As of this week, a total of 25,912 forms are outstanding.
Every time a household does not send back their form, the Council is obliged to chase households for a response. This costs the Council, and council tax payers, money.
Reading Borough Council is urging people to make sure the enquiry forms are filled in and returned as soon as possible in the prepaid envelope provided, or online at www.householdresponse.com/reading (residents will need their security numbers from their form). Alternatively, if no details have changed residents can call 0800 197 9871 and when prompted enter part 1 and part 2 of their security code, or text NOCHANGE followed by their security codes to 80212.
Residents are asked to note that the enquiry form is not a registration form, but people do need to complete it. Any new residents who are eligible to vote can also go online to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote once they have responded to the enquiry form.
People not on the electoral register will not be able to vote in next year’s local elections, or vote in the further elections they are entitled to vote in.
Some residents do not think they have to register if their details are the same as previous years. However the register has to be updated annually by law and householders have a legal obligation to complete the form every year. Credit companies also use the electoral register to check for residence, and if residents are not on the register they may experience difficulties in getting credit. Registering for other services or paying Council Tax does not automatically register people to vote.
If there are ‘rising voters’ – young people aged 16 or 17 – living at an address, then their names need to be added to the register so that they can vote when they are 18.
A third and final reminder will be sent to outstanding properties at the beginning of November.