Electoral services

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6. Electoral Registration & Annual Canvass

From each July our electoral services section will begin the process of the annual canvass. The process for completing the canvass is in two stages:

Stage 1. Household Enquiry Forms (HEF)

Each household will receive a household enquiry form addressed to The Present Occupier. This is to enable us to confirm who is resident and identify new and previous residents.

The information provided will enable us to confirm who is still living at the property or enable us to send a separate individual registration form to those people who need to register.

On the HEF there is a security code which will allow you, via telephone or text, to confirm the details on the form if there are no changes only.  You can though still complete the form and return it by post.  You must do this if there are any changes required.

If you are a new resident the HEF does not register you to vote, it just confirms who lives at your address.  If you or anyone in your household has not already registered individually, you can do this online at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.  Please note you will still need to send back the HEF, otherwise you will be sent a reminder. 

It is a legal requirement to return the HEF and outstanding households will receive a personal visit from a canvasser to ensure this information is collected. Please help to keep costs to a minimum by returning the form promptly.

Stage 2. Invitations to Register (ITR)

If a returned HEF indicates any new residents who need to register, they will each be sent an ITR for completion. This form requests personal information in order to confirm a persons identity before they can be added to the electoral register.  You can help us save money by registering online as soon as possible at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Anyone who does not respond to an ITR form will be sent a reminder. It is a legal requirement to return an ITR and those persons who have not registered will also receive a visit from a canvasser to ensure the information is collected.

Electoral Registers

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • detecting crime (e.g. fraud)
  • calling people for jury service
  • checking credit applications.

The open register

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organization. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

You can find more information about both registers and how they may be used at Register to Vote or by contacting electoral services on 01392 265141 or electoral.services@exeter.gov.uk

We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes. We will look after personal information securely and we will follow the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not give personal information about you and other people in your household to anyone else or another organization unless we have to by law.