Published Thursday 9 July 2015 at 11:12
Households in Blackburn with Darwen will soon be receiving a form asking residents to check whether the information that appears on the electoral register for those living at their address is correct as part of Blackburn with Darwen’s annual voter registration canvass.
The aim of the form is to ensure that the electoral register is up to date and to identify any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so.
With local elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections taking place across the country in May 2016, this is an opportunity for residents to make sure that when the elections take place they will easily be able to take part.
Harry Catherall, returning officer for Blackburn with Darwen, said:
“I know in the run-up to the last election, we sent many of you letters to say that as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) you didn’t need to do anything further and you were already registered.
“But we have a duty to get in touch with people to canvass the properties so we know if any changes have happened.
“Residents may have moved out or new ones moved in. We need our register to be as accurate and complete as possible so residents don’t miss out on their vote.
“I would urge everyone to check the form when it arrives and return it as promptly as possible.
“Not being on the electoral register means you can’t vote and have your say on how things are run. It will also affect your credit rating making things like getting a mortgage harder to get.”
If you’re not currently registered, we’ll send you information explaining how to do this or you can just go online to apply to register at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
It’s particularly important that anyone who has moved address recently looks out for the form and checks whether they are registered.
Research by the independent Electoral Commission indicates that across Great Britain, recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those that have lived at the same address for a long time. The research showed that 94 % of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered compared to 40% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.
The same research indicates that whilst almost 95% of outright home owners are registered, this is the case for only 63% of private renters.
Kay Jenkins, Head of English regions at the Electoral Commission said:
“The annual canvass is an opportunity for people to easily check whether they’re registered. It’s essential for a healthy democracy that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to, and for those who need to registering is now easier than ever with the online system of registration.
“If you have changed address in the last year, it’s particularly likely that you will need to register at your new address, so check the form as soon as it arrives.”
Any residents who have any questions can contact the elections team on (01254) 585920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.