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Annual canvass - keeping the Electoral Register up-to-date

Annual canvas. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The annual canvass is a review of the electoral register. We undertake an annual review between August to November to make sure our electoral register is up-to-date.

Please remember you're required by law to complete and return the annual electoral registration form. This is even if you aren't eligible to vote in the UK or if you've registered before and are already included on the register.

Unless your name appears on the electoral register, you won't be able to vote in an election. 

If you're not on the register, you may also find it difficult when applying for mortgages, loans or credit as credit reference agencies use the register to check addresses of applicants. Being on the Council Tax register does not automatically mean you're on the register of electors.​

How we conduct the canvass

  1. In August we send out an annual electoral registration form to every residential address in the borough.
  2. The form will be pre-printed with the current electors held on the electoral register at your address. By law, you must respond to the form. You can do this using the options below. If you've not received a form, you can ask for one by ringing us using the contact details on this page.
  3. We'll send out reminder forms in September if we haven't received your response. To help us save time and money please do complete the form as soon as possible.
  4. If you don't respond to the annual canvass request or provide false information on the form you may be liable to a fine of £1,000.

What you need to do

Most people will already be registered and you'll simply be confirming the details are correct.

No changes: if all the information on the annual electoral registration form are correct please confirm this by completing and returning the form as soon as possible.

You must use the security codes and instructions printed on your annual electoral registration form to use the online and phone services.

Changes: if you need to make any changes you can do this

The information you provide will enable us to send a separate individual registration form to all the people in your household who are eligible and need to register. Those who are eligible can also register online.

Who to include on the form

When you complete the annual electoral registration form, make sure you include:

  • All British, Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens currently living in the property. Qualifying Commonwealth citizens are those persons who have leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who don't require such leave.
  • All citizens of European Union member states who are currently living in the property.
  • All 16 and 17 year olds. They'll be eligible to vote when they become 18, but not before.
  • All persons who normally live at your address but are temporarily away, for example on holiday, in hospital, as students. Students are entitled to register both at their home address and their term-time address and may vote in local elections in both areas. However, they may only vote once in the event of a Parliamentary election.
  • Anyone who is away working, unless they'll be away for more than 6 months of the year.
  • Any other residents, lodgers and guests but not short stay visitors.

Who not to include on the form

When you complete the annual electoral registration form, don't include:

  • Anyone not currently a resident at your address.
  • Foreign nationals, except for European Union and qualifying Commonwealth citizens.
  • People who won't be 18 by 1 December.

If you're moving house

If you've a confirmed moving date before 1 December, please leave the form for any new people moving into your property.

If you're not sure of the date you're moving house, please complete the form, write a note on the form that you are expecting to move soon and return it. We can then do a follow-up check using the information from you. Once you've moved house, contact us using the details on this page and we'll send you an Annual Electoral Registration form to your new house.

If no-one is entitled to vote

If the property is empty, a second home, used only for business purposes, or no-one is eligible to vote, you must still return the Annual Electoral Registration form to tell us this.

The revised electoral register

A revised electoral register will be published on 1 December. It will be used for all elections held during 2019, which might include an election for a mayor, a general election or a by-election called with just 5 weeks' notice. About the electoral register.

Change your preferred voting method

Change from postal or proxy to in person: please write to us using the contact details on this page. You'll need to include your name, address and a short message clearly stating you would prefer to vote in person from now on.

Change from in person to postal or proxy: find out how to vote by post, find out how to vote by proxy.

Related pages


0300 303 0345

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Elections Team
Governance and Committee Services
Floor 2
Number One Riverside
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU​​