20/07/20: Don't lose your voice

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

The annual canvass is now underway and will see residents across the district contacted to verify that information held on the electoral register is up to date. The process also helps to identify people who are not currently registered to vote, so they can be encouraged to do so.

Being registered to vote not only gives you a voice in future elections, but can also positively improve your chances of obtaining credit, open bank accounts, or prove your identity.

The canvass is carried out locally by Breckland Council. While the majority of households will be contacted via letter, as in previous years, for the first year ever Breckland will also be contacting around 10,000 people via email, if they have provided these details in the past.

People will be able to verify their registration details are correct or make changes online, via text message, or by returning a paper form. It is a legal requirement of the council to carry out this canvass each year, and a legal requirements of residents to respond. Households which do not respond will be visited in person by a canvasser over the coming months.

Cllr Sarah Suggitt, Executive Member for Governance at Breckland Council, commented "It's important that residents keep an eye out for messages from Breckland Council over the coming weeks, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in the district."

Maxine O'Mahony, Returning Officer for Breckland Council commented, "Responding quickly, and ideally digitally, will help reduce the need for the council to issue reminders or arrange face-to-face visits, which we are trying to keep to a minimum in light of the ongoing pandemic."

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, commented "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."

Last updated: 20/07/2020 15:17:03