The Annual Canvass - Frequently Asked Questions

1. I have received my annual canvass form, what should I do?
  Here is what you do:

If the form you received is correct: telephone the free helpline number on 0800 197 8633 and follow the instructions. If you prefer, you can use the Internet at Alternatively you can just sign and date the form and return it in the envelope provided to: Electoral Registration, Redcar & Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, TS10 1RT.

If the form you received is not correct: just change the form so that it reads correctly. You can cross out names and any other things that are incorrect. You can add new names to the register just by adding them underneath the existing entries. MAKE SURE ANY CHANGES ARE CLEAR. Next sign and date the form and return it to us in the envelope provided. We will have to return your form to you if you have not signed it.

2. I sent in a registration form only recently. Isn't that enough?
  No. People can apply to join the Electoral Register as soon as they move in to the district, and whenever we receive a new voter registration form we update the existing register. That registration may lapse, however, if an annual canvass form is not returned for that property or if the new voter is not shown on the returned form.

3. What is the 'Full Register' and the 'Edited Register'?
  We produce 2 versions of the Electoral Register.

The 'Full Register' includes everyone who is eligible to vote, and gives their names and addresses. This register is made available for public display, but electronic copies can only be provided for a limited range of purposes. Credit Reference agencies are able to buy a copy of this register.

The 'Edited Register' excludes the names of people who 'opt out' of the edited register. The Council is authorised to sell electronic and paper copies of the Edited Register to whosoever asks for a copy.

Currently the Council is required by law to give you a fresh choice every year and is therefore not able to pre-tick the canvass form with last years choice. From the feedback we receive, we know that some of you wish to permanently opt-out. The Electoral Commission have issued new guidance which says that under Data Protection Legislation, you are able to put any request to permanently opt out of the Edited Register in writing and we will act on your wishes. Please send any written requests to Electoral Registration, Redcar and Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, TS10 1RT or by email to

4. Who is eligible to Vote / Who should I put on the canvass form I return?
  You should add people's names to the canvass form if any of 1) , 2) and 3) are true statements.

1) They are going to be, or will be resident at that address on the 15th October of the current year. You do not need to wait until 15th October to return your canvass form if you think the circumstances at your address are not likely to change before 15th October. (See 'residence' question below.)
2) The persons in question are over 16. If they are aged between 16-18 you must add their dates of birth to the form.
3) The persons in question are eligible citizens (see eligible citizen question below)

5. Who is an eligible citizen?
  People are eligible to apply for voter registration providing they are one of the following:
  • They are a British or Commonwealth citizens
  • They are citizens of the Irish Republic
  • They are a citizen of another European Union country
6. Who is a resident?
  You do not have to be a full time resident to register in this area. Some of the following people are examples of who can register in this area if they consider themselves to be a resident.
  • 'Service' personnel who are away on duty much of the time
  • Students who live here in term time, time, or during vacations
  • People who have second homes in this area
  • Homeless people

It is legal to have votes in 2 areas if you consider yourself to be resident in both of these, but you must only vote once in Parliamentary elections.

7. What should I do if I have recently moved house?
  It is likely that the information contained in the canvass form will relate to the previous occupants. Simply cross out the names of people no longer living at your address and add the new names before signing and returning the form. If there is no form at your new address, contact Electoral Registration on (01642) 444410.

8. If I register, do I have to vote?
  Whether you vote at an election is entirely your choice. By registering to vote, you will be sent a polling card telling you when an election is about to take place, but you do not have to vote if you do not want to.

If you are a postal voter, you will be sent ballot papers, but again you do not have to use them if you do not want to.That is your democratic right - but by registering you at least have the choice. If you do not register you will have no choice.

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