Electoral register canvas continues

Hounslow Council’s annual electoral registration canvass runs until Sunday 20 November 2016.

Published: Tuesday, 1st November 2016

Hounslow Council’s annual electoral registration canvass runs until Sunday 20 November 2016, with volunteers knocking on the doors of approximately 30,000 properties across the borough.

The canvassers are checking the details of people listed as living at an address and will also be encouraging people to add themselves to the electoral register if they’re not already registered.

All local authorities are responsible for maintaining electoral registers and ensuring they’re as accurate as possible. Electoral registers list the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in local, London, and General elections and also referendums. They’re also used for other limited purposes, such as: detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service, checking credit applications.

Every year the Council undertakes a canvass to ensure that the electoral register is up to date. The canvass started in Hounslow in September when forms called Household Enquiry Forms were sent out to all Hounslow addresses.

Household Enquiry Forms list who is on the electoral register at an address and asks someone at the address to confirm the information on the form is correct, or make any changes, for example where people have moved in or out of an address, or where names have changed.

Replying to a Household Enquiry Form is a legal requirement and failure to reply can result in a fine of £1,000.

Since September Invitation to Register to Vote forms have also been issued. These forms are sent out to individual people who the council believes are eligible to vote but are either not on the register because they have only recently turned 16 or they have recently moved into the borough.

The Hounslow canvassers will be out in all weathers over the next few weeks knocking on the doors of properties where there has been no response to requests from the council for information about who lives at the property; or where people have not responded to Invitations to Register to vote.

The canvassers have all received thorough training and will be wearing Hounslow Council high-viz jackets to make them more visible now the clocks have gone back. They will also always show council issued identification badges every time anyone opens a door to them.

Canvassers have also been given important information in the most commonly spoken and emerging languages in the borough to help with responses.

Councillor Theo Dennison, Cabinet Member for Finance and Citizen Engagement, Hounslow Council, said: “Registering to vote is important and it only takes a moment.

“Canvassers are now calling at homes where someone appears to have not completed the appropriate forms, so if a canvasser calls at your house it is important that you respond. It is a legal requirement to register and to tell the Council who lives at the address - and each year the Council does take people to court for failing to respond which can mean a hefty fine.

“Being on the electoral register doesn’t mean you have to vote, but if you aren’t on the register you don’t get that choice. It can also harm your credit score, and may make it harder to get a mortgage, loan, mobile phone contract or other credit facilities.”

Cassie Triggs, Electoral Services Manager, Hounslow Council, added: “If you've received a Household Enquiry Form and haven’t replied to it yet, you can do this online via the council’s website or by returning the form by post. Details of how to do this are on the form.”

New residents can add themselves to the register on the GOV.uk website . The process takes a few minutes and it only requires your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.

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