Local 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.
From the end of July, Merton residents will start to receive communication from the Electoral Services team at Merton Council, either by email, by post, or by SMS message asking them to make sure their details are up to date. This annual canvass ensures the council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so.
You must respond to these communications if:
- you are asked to by the council
- any of the information that the council has recorded for you is wrong
- there are people at your address who are eligible to register to vote, but are not included in the communication.
With elections taking place to elect the Mayor of London and members of the London Assembly in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from the council and check the details. 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.
The name of any resident who is not currently registered will not appear in the messages sent by the council. If you want to register, the easiest way is online on the gov.uk website. As part of the canvass, residents will also be sent information explaining how to register in the post.
This year’s canvass, which has to be carried out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. The council is working to ensure that they take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing. Residents are being encouraged to swiftly respond to communications from the council, as this will prevent the need for home visits by Electoral Services staff.
Notes to editors
- The Representation of the People Act 1983 places a duty on Electoral Registration Officers to maintain the electoral register for their area and to conduct an annual canvass of all residential properties.
- The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service or checking credit applications.
- The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.
- 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 or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave.
- A citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.
- British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta) can vote in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. To date, the UK Government has not made changes to the eligibility of EU citizens, meaning at present they too can vote in these elections.
Full details of the Electoral Commission’s research on the electoral registers can be found on its website.