Look Out for your Electoral Registration Letter

LOCAL residents are being warned not to lose their voice on important decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date.

With both Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place in Reading in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.

Reading Borough Council’s annual canvass ensures that it can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered and encouraging them to do so.

Christopher Brooks, Electoral Registration Officer at Reading Borough Council. said:

“It’s really important that residents keep an eye out for messages from the Council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Reading.

“Where are now moving onto the second stage of our Canvass.  Some households will receive their first letter (known as ‘Canvass Communication B letter’) from the Council on or around 13th August 2020.  This is only being sent to those households where we have not been able to match details with the Department of Work and Pensions.  People must respond to this letter by 24th August 2020.  The quickest and easiest way to reply is online by following the details given in the letter.  If we do not receive a response then we are obliged to follow up with you and this will include a Door to Door Canvasser contacting you.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the communications we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.  You must still complete the Canvass Communication B letter that has been sent to your address.

“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.”

People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from Reading Borough Council 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% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% 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 you provide the necessary information to your 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.

“There’s lots of helpful information about registering to vote on our website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter.”

Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team at Elections@reading.gov.uk or by calling on:- 0118 937 3717.

Notes to editors

1.          Elections are taking place in Reading in May 2021

2.          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.

3.          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.

4.          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.

5.          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.

6.          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.

7.          Full details of the Electoral Commission’s research on the electoral registers can be found on its website. https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/our-views-and-research/our-research/accuracy-and-completeness-electoral-registers

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301