Registering to vote in Merton is now easier with the introduction of a new rolling register. This enables people to register at any time of the year rather than relying on the annual October update.
Postal votes will be available on demand for the first time. People no longer need to give a reason for wanting a postal vote. Anyone will be able to request one for a specific election or register for an automatic postal vote for a set period.
Rolling registration and postal votes on demand are part of the Representation of the People Act 2000 which modernises many procedures. To highlight the changes a £3 million Home Office TV and press advertising campaign “make your voice heard” has begun.
For voters who move house, re-registering to vote should become something that is part of the moving agenda – just like notifying the gas and electricity suppliers.
To vote in an election an individual’s name needs to be on the electoral register, but since February a list of changes is published each month to take account of house moves, deaths and other amendments. But there are deadlines. For example, if someone is not registered and there is an election in May, they would need to register by 12 March.
The new legislation will also help homeless people. In the past they had difficulty because they no permanent address. A homeless person will now be able to make a declaration of local connection – giving an address of a place where they spend a substantial amount of time.
Merton Council’s Electoral Services helpline on (020) 8545 3407 can give more information on all these new arrangements and will send out new simplified application forms.