Annual canvass of the electoral register
Each year Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council sends out a Household Enquiry Form (HEF) to every household asking the occupier to check whether the information on the electoral register is correct. This is known as the Annual Canvass.
The aim of the form is to ensure that the electoral register is up to date and to identify anyone who is not registered to vote so that they can be encouraged to do so. If anyone is added, a separate Invitation to Register will be sent out, but they don’t have to wait for this to be sent, it is much easier and quicker if they go straight online and register at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Even if you go online to register, we still need you to return the HEF.
It is not about who owns the property, but who lives there. Anyone living at the address may complete and return it, but all properties must reply as soon as possible. If there are no changes to be made, you can even reply by telephone, text or email, but we do still need a response. All this information is included on your HEF form.
It is a legal requirement for residents to confirm details relating to their property and by not doing so you could be fined £1000.
Responding quickly also saves taxpayers money. By law every household that does not return the original HEF will be sent two additional written reminders and if they do not reply to these, we then have to employ canvassers to visit every non-responding address. The largest expense in all of this is not the printing of the forms, it’s the expensive postage. With householders not replying, and the cost of employing staff to knock the doors to collect the information, costs are increasing.
Credit reference agencies also use the register to confirm an individual’s address. If you are not registered, you will not get credit!! That includes everything from a mortgage or personal loan or even a mobile phone contract.
You need to be included on the register if you are:
Changing your name
If your name changes, to update the electoral register you will need to complete and sign a voter change of name form. This cannot be completed online. You will also need to provide a relevant document such as a copy of your marriage certificate, deed poll or amended birth certificate to support the form.
Opting in or out of the open register
There are two registers:
You must be on the electoral register but can decide to opt out of being listed on the open register.