20 July 2017
The annual electoral registration audit has begun with household enquiry forms sent out to all households. Residents can help to save the Council money by making sure they return them as quickly as possible. Every time a household does not send back their form, the Council is obliged to chase households for a response.
This year a first reminder will be sent out in early August and then followed up with teams of door-to-door canvassers. Where there is still no response, a final reminder will be sent to properties in early November 2017. All of this activity costs the Council money.
Reading Borough Council is urging people to make sure the enquiry forms are filled in and returned as soon as possible in the pre-paid envelope provided, or online at www.householdresponse.com/reading (residents will need their security numbers from their form). Alternatively, if no details have changed, residents can call 0800 197 9871 and when prompted enter part 1 and part 2 of their security code, or text NOCHANGE followed by their security codes to 80212.
Residents are asked to note that the enquiry form is not a registration form, but people do need to complete it. Any new residents who are eligible to vote can also go online to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote once they have responded to the enquiry form.
People not on the electoral register will not be able to vote in next year’s local elections or vote in the further elections they are entitled to vote in.
Some residents do not think they have to register if their details are the same as previous years. However the register has to be updated annually by law and householders have a legal obligation to complete the form every year. Credit companies also use the electoral register to check for residence, and if residents are not on the register they may experience difficulties in getting credit. Registering for other services or paying Council Tax does not automatically register people to vote.
Residents are being urged to look out for the forms arriving the latter half of July. In particular, if there are ‘rising voters’ – young people aged 16 or 17 – living at an address, then their names need to be added to the register so that they can vote when they are 18.
The annual electoral registration audit in Reading will this year run for 18 weeks, until 21st November 2017. If no response is received, the Council will chase households by sending canvassers door-to-door to request that forms are completed. Canvassers will knock on doors where no response has been received for 9 weeks from 2nd September 2017.
Green party activist Kizzi Johannessen, who finished 2nd place in Redlands ward at the last local election, said: “Remember to keep on top of your voter registration. If you don't take part in the audit, you don't get a vote, and regardless of who you vote for, we want you to have your say.”
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