Somerset residents are being reminded to check their electoral registration details or risk losing their chance to vote on decisions that affect them.
The annual canvass allows Somerset Council to keep the electoral register up to date, to identify who risks losing their voice at elections, and to encourage them to register before it is too late. Anyone not on the register cannot vote.
Reminders for those who have not responded to date are going out this week and contain full details on what steps to take. If people are registered and the details have not changed, they do not need to do anything more.
If residents tell the Council there are new people eligible to be registered at their address, they will receive an ‘invitation to register form’ either through the post (or via email, if this contact method has been provided). They can also go online to register to vote at Register to vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Recent home movers are urged to check their details. Electoral Commission research has found that people who have moved to a new address are less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. In Great Britain, 92% of those who have lived in their home for 16 years will be registered, compared with 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than a year.
The Council is legally required to undertake this annual canvass of all of the residential properties in the county, to make sure that the information on the electoral register for every address is accurate and up to date.
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 citizen
- an Irish or EU citizen living in the UK
- a Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
Residents normally only need to register once, not for every election, but will need to register again if they have changed their name, address or nationality.
More information on registering to vote is available on the Electoral Commission website.
Residents with questions about their registration status can contact their local council’s electoral services team at 0300 123 2224 or by emailing email@example.com.