23 July 2020
Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on important decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date. With both Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place in Reading in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part. Reading Borough Council’s annual canvass ensures that it can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered and encouraging them to do so.
Green campaigner Louise Keane said: “Whoever you’re planning to vote for, I urge you to get registered and vote. Don’t let the same old people get elected simply because you weren’t registered. We need Reading Council to put people first. The easiest way to register is online www.gov.uk/register-to-vote”.
Christopher Brooks, Electoral Registration Officer at Reading Borough Council, said: “It’s really important that residents keep an eye out for messages from the Council, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Reading.
“Some households will first receive their first letter (known as ‘Canvass Communication A letter’) from the Council on or around 21st July 2020. This is only being sent to those households where we have been able to match details with the Department of Work and Pensions. People will only need to respond to this letter if the electoral register information is incorrect. The quickest and easiest way to reply is online by following the details given in the letter.
“During August some households will receive a ‘Canvass Communication B letter’ from the Council. This communication will be sent to households where we have not been able to match details with the Department of Work and Pensions. People will need to respond to this letter to ensure the electoral register information is correct. Again, residents are encouraged to reply online following the details and instructions given in the letter.
“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the communications we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.
“This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing.”
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from Reading Borough 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.
Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said: “It’s really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Making sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.
Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling on 0118 937 3717.
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