Annual canvass 2023
The annual canvass is a legal requirement designed to maintain the accuracy of the electoral register.
Each year we contact every household to check whether we have the correct people registered to vote and to ask you to tell us of any changes.
This year, where we can, we will be using data and electronic communication, such as email and text messaging before sending a hard copy letter, to make the process simpler and more cost effective.
Our emails contain a link to register your response but they are genuine and come from a recognised government domain firstname.lastname@example.org
How to respond
Full details will be provided on the communication sent to you so please follow this carefully. The easiest way to respond is via the web:
You must have your two security codes to register your response.
If there are NO changes to the information on your canvass communication you can respond via:
- Freephone: 0808 2841448
- SMS: by texting your TWO security codes separated by a space to 07786 209348
Frequently asked questions
I have received an email about the canvass but it hasn't come from a Herefordshire Council email, is this genuine?
The email will come from email@example.com which is a recognised government domain. It will contain a link which you will need to click in order to start your response. It is safe to click the link in this email - it will simply direct you to the Official Household Information Response Website for Herefordshire Council
The email will also contain the Herefordshire Council Logo and will be signed by the Electoral Services Manager. If you receive something different to this and you think it may not be genuine please contact the Electoral Services helpline for confirmation. We will never ask you to provide us with any bank details or any personal details other than what is required for the annual canvass or to register to vote.
What will happen after I complete the canvass communication?
Any new names provided on the form will be sent a form or a link via email to register to vote. Registering to vote is quick and easy online at Register to vote GOV.UK
Anyone crossed out on a response will allow us to remove them from the electoral register at that address. In order to be removed from the electoral register we need two pieces of evidence so we might write to that person individually to check if they are registered. If no response is received they will be automatically deleted from the register after 14 days.
Anyone changing their name on the register will be contacted to confirm their change of name. The most common reason for this is marriage. You may be contacted to ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or deed poll. Your name on the electoral register should be the same as on any official documents so please include your full name including any middle names.
Is the data I enter online secure?
The online service and data you provide is secure. It has been independently accredited, security tested and developed to meet the best practice guidelines for data security. The website address you enter your details on is: https://www.elecreg.co.uk/hfds This site is hosted by IDOX who are accredited by the government. You can see their accreditation under Operational security at gov.uk .
I am already registered or have just applied to register to vote, do I still need to register my annual canvass response?
Yes. The canvass communication asks for information about the household whereas the register to vote process is individual. So even though you are registered or have applied to register we still require confirmation that the information about your household is correct. If anyone else lives with you over the age of 16 we can invite them to register or if someone has vacated the property then we can make the necessary amendments.
Why do you need to send a canvass communication every year?
By law we have to do this each year In order to know who is eligible to register to vote at your address. The information you provide will allow us to amend any incorrect information such as removing anyone who has vacated the property and allow us to invite any new residents to register to vote.
There are no changes to the information on my canvass communication, do I still need to respond?
Full details and instructions will be provided on the communication sent to you. Some communications do not require a response but please read yours carefully and respond if asked to even if there are no changes to the information.
What happens if I don't respond to my annual canvass communication?
We are legally obliged to keep chasing you with reminders, followed eventually by a personal visit, which we are very keen to avoid.
There are people listed on the canvass communication that don't live here, what do I do?
If anyone listed on the form is not living at your address, their name/s should be clearly crossed through on the form or you can remove their name using the web response.
Do I include the names of everyone who lives here?
You need to include the name and nationality of everyone aged 16 or over who is resident at the address and eligible to register to vote. If there are no eligible residents, you should say why this is the case.
Am I automatically registered to vote if I complete my canvass response?
No. The annual canvass is a household exercise. The communication to your household will show who is already registered to vote, so if you or anyone else over the age of 16 at your address are not listed then you are not currently registered. When completing a web response the system will give you the opportunity to register to vote as well if you need to.
I have recently registered to vote so why is my name not on the canvass communication?
If you registered to vote after 3 July 2023 your name will not show on the canvass communication. This is because we send our information to the printers two weeks before the forms are posted. It is likely to be a crossover of information but please ring the Electoral Services helpline if you want confirmation.
Do I need to include my email address and phone number on the canvass form?
You are invited to include your email address and phone number on the canvass form, but you do not have to. We will use this information only in connection with your registration, and it helps us to contact you if there is a problem.
I have already returned a canvass communication, do I need to return the registration form I've received too?
Yes. The canvass communication is different to a registration form as it provides us with information on who lives in your household. The registration form is for you individually and once completed will enable you to officially register to vote. You should complete and return the registration form or register online.
My neighbour has received a canvass communication telling them they don't have to respond, so why does mine say I have to?
Before the annual canvass begins, every property has to be matched against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) database to determine the accuracy of the household information we already hold. Properties may receive different instructions on their communication based on their match status, so please read yours very carefully and respond if required.
I have already responded to my canvass communication but have since received a reminder, do I need to complete this as well?
Not necessarily. If you have received a reminder within a week of completing your response, it is likely that the information has simply crossed over. We have to send our list of reminders to the printer a week before they go out in the post so this in unavoidable and a small number of people will receive an unnecessary reminder. If you would like to check that we have successfully received your response, please ring the Electoral Services helpline.
I am a student, should I register to vote in Herefordshire?
As a student you can register to vote at both your term time and home address. This means that you will be able to vote if an election is called at short notice. If you register to vote at home and at your term time address you are able to vote at local elections at both addresses. It is a serious offence to vote twice at a national election such as a Parliamentary General Election or a national referendum.
You can find more information on registering to vote if you are a student on the Electoral commission: Students website.
I have received my form at my second home
If you split your time equally between two homes, you may be able to register to vote at both addresses. For example you might live and work in two different places and split your time equally. You can only register to vote at each address if you split your time equally between both locations or you are a student. An application to register at a second home is considered on a case by case basis and depends on the amount of time you spend at each address. You cannot register to vote at your second home if you are only resident occasionally and you should indicate that the property is your second home on the canvass communication before returning it. If you are registered to vote at two addresses, you are only allowed to vote once at a national election like a Parliamentary General Election.
See Electoral Commission: Voting and second homes for more information on registering to vote if you have a second home.
Why is the form addressed to the occupier?
The format of a canvass communication is set by the Electoral Commission. It is addressed to The Occupier because anyone in the property can respond to the form on behalf of the household. If we address it to a particular resident and they subsequently move out, any paper communications would be returned undelivered.
Disabilities and incapacity
If you have a reason that prevents you from completing the canvass form or registering to vote please get in touch with us in writing to Electoral Services, Town Hall, St Owen Street, Hereford, HR1 2PJ, by phoning us on 01432 260107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can best assist you.
If you have any further questions or any concerns please contact the Electoral Services office using the information below.
Electoral services contact details
Our opening times are: Monday to Thursday 8.45am to 5.15pm, Friday 8.45am to 4.45pmAddress: Electoral Services, Town Hall, St Owen St, Hereford HR1 2PJ