Your vote matters so keep your details up-to-date, says council
Being able to have your say by voting in elections has never been so important.
That is the message from Canterbury City Council this week as it starts the annual process of keeping the electoral roll up-to-date.
A change in legislation together with the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way the canvass is conducted in order to protect the public and the canvassers who normally deliver forms door to door and then chase up those who have not responded.
For the vast majority of people living in the district, the Electoral Services team has matched its data with information held by the national and local government.
Those households will receive a form which sets out the details held and households are only required to get in touch if any of the information is wrong.
Those households where it has not been possible to match the data of all the electors living there will receive a different form and will be legally obliged to reply to advise if the information is correct and to give the names of any new people who have moved in or any people who have moved out.
The easiest way of doing this will be via the internet but people will also be able to respond via text message, over the phone or by sending a form in the post. It will also save council taxpayers money. Full details are set out in the letter. They will not be provided with a pre-paid envelope.
If the council does not get a response, other methods of contact such as sending another form, an email or a phone call will be used, but it could mean a canvasser has to be sent to knock on the door of a property, which the council is keen to avoid during the coronavirus pandemic.
People living in care homes and students living and studying in the district will also be contacted in the months ahead. The Electoral Services team is working closely with the universities to find innovative ways of gathering students’ details if traditional methods like attending freshers' fairs are not available to them.
Canterbury City Council Chief Executive Colin Carmichael said: “Having an accurate and up-to-date electoral roll is the foundation upon which the whole democratic system rests.
“Not having a vote means not having a voice when it comes to electing MPs, Kent County Council councillors, Canterbury City Council councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner, who oversees policing in the county.
“They make important decisions on our behalf and marking your cross in the polling booth is an important way of holding them to account.
“Appearing on the electoral roll is also important when applying for credit so the companies thinking about lending you money or arranging finance for an item you want to buy can make the checks they need.
“If we ask for your details, giving them online is the quickest and easiest way but please make sure you respond quickly which will prevent the need for our staff to knock on your door.”
The next set of elections are scheduled for 6 May 2021. They will be to elect Kent County Council councillors, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent and two by-elections in Canterbury City Council wards.
Published: 20 July 2020