In recent weeks, some 150,000 Croydon households have received a form, as part of the annual voter registration canvass, asking residents to check whether the information that appears on the electoral register for those living at their address is correct.
The annual voter registration canvass is designed to ensure all residents who are eligible to vote are registered so that they can have their voice at all future elections. This includes the Mayoral election next year, future local elections and, of course, the general and European elections. All of which makes registration more important for everybody.
Following changes last year, the system is now called individual electoral registration. Whereas, previously, the head of household was responsible for registering everyone who lived at the address, each individual is now responsible for their own voter registration.
While many have completed their details, there remain some who have yet to do so, and the council is currently in the process of sending reminders to those households. The letter at the front of the form explains what needs to be done, and the options available to return the required information.
Nathan Elvery, Croydon’s electoral registration officer, said: “Anybody that wants to have their voice heard must be registered to vote. To make sure you’re able to have your say at the elections next year, simply check the form and return it as promptly as possible.
“And I’d ask any who have received reminders to be sure to act so that they can exercise their democratic right to vote.
“Anybody not currently registered will have received information explaining how to do so. Alternatively, they can go online to apply to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.”
It is particularly important that anybody who has changed address recently looks out for the form and checks whether they are registered.
Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that, across Great Britain, recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those that have lived at the same address for a long time. The research showed that 94% of people who have been at their property for more than 16 years will be registered, compared to 40% who have lived at an address for less than a year.
The same research indicates that while almost 95% of outright home owners are registered, this is the case for only 63% of private renters.
Kay Jenkins, head of English regions at the Electoral Commission, said: “The annual canvass is an opportunity for people to easily check whether they’re registered.
“It’s essential for a healthy democracy that everyone who’s entitled to vote is able to, and, for those who need to, registering is now easier than ever with the online system of registration.
“If you’ve changed address in the past year, it’s particularly likely that you’ll need to register at your new address. So, if you’ve yet to do so, check the form as soon as you can.”