The Council has to undertake a canvass of all households every year, usually between August and November, so that it can prepare and publish a new electoral register. Registers are usually published on 1 December, but in 2012 all Councils had to publish early (16 October) in preparation for the Police & Crime Commissioners Elections held on 15 November 2012.
Whilst explanatory notes are included on the Householder Registration Form, the Elections Team has prepared a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding the canvass.
PLEASE NOTE: The telephone and internet registration lines are now closed. All applications to register must be made in writing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the freephone telephone registration number?
0800 197 6176 - The phone line is only open for registration during the canvass period. You should only attempt to register by phone if there are no changes required to your canvass form.
I've only got a mobile phone - can I use that to register?
Yes - You can register using a mobile phone rather than a landline, but please be aware that it will not be a "freephone" call - your usual mobile phone network charges will apply. Internet registration is only available during the canvass period which has now closed.
What is the internet registration website address?
www.registerbyinternet.com/shropshire - Internet registration is only operational during the canvass period. You should only attempt to register on the internet if there are no changes required to your canvass form.
I've typed the internet website address into my search engine, but it won't bring up the right page. What should I do now?
You can either log on from the link on the front page of Shropshire Council's website or else by typing www.registerbyinternet.com/shropshire directly into your computer's browser bar.
How do I know if my details have been received?
People successfully registering by phone will hear a "thank you" message and by internet, will receive a written electronic reply. Due to the high volume of paperwork being received and postage costs involved, hand-written forms cannot be acknowledged.
Where is the security code printed on the form?
The security code is printed opposite your address in the top right-hand section of your form. It is split into two sets of numbers - the first part has 6 digits and the second part has 4 digits.
Do I have to remember my security codes for the future?
No - They are there to enable you to register by telephone or internet during this canvass period only. You should only register by telephone or internet if no householder details have changed.
Can I use Text Registration this year?
The details pre-printed on my form are wrong - what should I do?
You will need to cross out anything that is no longer valid and add any new information to the form. Please then sign it at the bottom of the front page and send it back to the Council using the pre-paid envelope that we have provided for you.
I've tried to make changes on the phone/internet, but it wouldn't let me do it - what should I do now?
The telephone or internet should only be used if there are no changes to make. If you have registered in this way by mistake, you will now need to cross out anything on the form that is no longer valid and add any new information to the form. Please then write on the form that it is a "Change to earlier registration", sign it and send it back to the Council, so that we can make the amendments for you manually. If you have destroyed the form before realising your mistake, please contact the Elections Team to obtain a new form.
None of the details on my form have changed - do I need to do anything, or can I just throw the form away?
We still need you to verify the information, even if it is all correct. You can use the freephone telephone number and key in your security codes using a touch-tone keypad, or you can use the internet to register your form, again using your security codes. Whilst these are the quickest and cheapest forms of registering, if you do not wish to use these services, you can simply sign and return the form to us using the pre-paid envelope provided.
How do I know if I've got a "touch-tone" phone?
When you press the numbers, you can usually hear a little "bleep" in the background. If your phone isn't a "touch-tone" phone, then unfortunately you will have to either register using the internet or return the signed form.
I'm moving house soon, but I haven't got the actual date yet - what should I do?
The 2012 Register is compiled and published based on where you are living as at 15th October 2012.
- If you are moving before 15th October, cross out your details but leave the form at the property for the new occupiers to complete and send in to us. Hopefully there will be a similar form left for you at the property that you are moving into. If not, please contact us and we can send you a replacement form for your new address instead.
- If you are moving after 15th October, complete the form as normal (or use the electronic registration options if there are no changes to make), but do remember to contact us again after you have moved, so that we can send you a "rolling registration" form to amend your details.
My husband and I are hoping to go and live abroad - can we still register and vote?
Yes you can! It's best to contact the Electoral Services Office for exact advice, as it depends on whether you are already registered and when you are planning to leave. As a general rule of thumb, you can still vote in Parliamentary Elections for up to 15 years after leaving the UK, providing that you register as an "overseas elector".
Why has the form still got the old occupiers' details on it, when we told you that we'd moved in?
This may be for one of three reasons:-
- You may have informed the Council Tax Office that you had moved in, but did not complete and return a "rolling registration" form to send to the Electoral Services Office;
- If you did complete a "rolling registration" form, it could be that we had not received formal notification that the previous occupants had moved out. We can't just assume that the other occupants have left, as they may be your relations and would not appreciate being removed from the Register, if you have only gone to stay with them on a temporary basis
- The previous occupants may have moved out but forgotten to let the Electoral Services Office know their new address, or we have not received notification from another Electoral Officer elsewhere in the country to confirm that they have now registered in that area instead.
Can I just forward this form to the people who used to live here for them to complete?
No - The form is for that specific property and the new householder(s) should complete the details themselves. The people who used to live at that address will be getting their own form, which will be addressed to their new property.
My father has gone into hospital temporarily - can I sign the form on his behalf or should I wait until he comes home again?
Anyone can sign the form to confirm that the details are still correct or need amending. Please fill in your contact details for us, so that we can get hold of you if we have any queries with the information provided.
My mother has gone into residential care - how do I let you know about this?
Take her name off the registration form, sign it and return it to us for processing. All Nursing Homes will have received a registration form, and they are responsible for adding her name to their records. You may wish to contact us towards the end of the canvass period to check that we have had the details returned from the Nursing Home.
My daughter is going off to university soon - should she be included on the form or not?
Many students remain registered at their parents' house whilst they are away studying. This saves them having to register at their student accommodation. Many also apply for a postal vote and have their ballot paper sent to their college address, or appoint someone back home to vote on their behalf at their usual polling station.
My son has joined the army - should I still include him on my form?
Your son can remain on the register at your property as an "ordinary elector", or he can register in his own right as a "service voter". Service declarations have to be renewed every five years, but there is a danger that any special voting arrangements which were set up at the beginning of this period may have become outdated - especially if the service voter has not let us know of his/her new posting elsewhere.
Does everyone in the household need to sign the form?
No - Just one person can sign on behalf of everybody else during the canvass period. At other times of the year when "rolling registration" rules apply, each individual must sign their own application. Having said this however, the Government is hoping to introduce individual registration (as in Ireland) throughout the year shortly.
Where is the "opt out" box on the form - I can't find it anywhere?
Each name is printed in a grid on the form - just follow the grid across the page to where it meets the column marked "Edited Register".
Following the advice of the Electoral Commission, no tick has been printed in the "opt out" box this year even if you have previously indicated a wish to "opt out". The Electoral Commission's advice is that such a declaration must be made on an annual basis.
If you are registering by telephone or internet, then you will have the change to "opt out" during the registration process.
Information is printed on the reverse of the canvass form about the Full and Edited Registers.
Is "opting out" the same as removing a name from the Register?
No - To remove a person from the Register, you must cross their name out. If you just tick the Edited Register column against their entry, that means that the person stays on the register at the property, but will only appear on the Full Register which is used for voting purposes - in other words, they remain registered but have just "opted out".
The form shows me as being a postal voter - can I cancel this?
Yes - Just delete the tick for "postal" against your name and return the form to us so that we can amend our records. At other times of the year, you can write to us and ask us to cancel your postal vote for you, but in the run up to an election, this must be done no later than 11 working days before polling day.
How can I become a postal voter?
Just put a tick in the "postal" column and once the new Register has been published, we will send you an application form to complete. We need certain information from you before we can grant you postal voting status and that is why you need to complete a separate postal voting application form.
Why have you sent me a reminder when it's not yet 15th October?
There are over 130,000 properties in Shropshire and we need to get as many people registered as possible within a 3 month period. Many people register straight away, but others can simply forget to do it, so by sending a reminder after 4 to 5 weeks, it helps to jog people's memories.
I've just received a reminder, but I filled in the original form sent to me. You're trying to cut spending at the Council, so why have you done this?
We need to send data to the printers about 10 days before the reminders are delivered to householders, so your form may have been received after the data was prepared. The easiest thing is to telephone us to see whether your form has been received during that 10 day period, or else simply complete the second one and send it back to us in the pre-paid envelope provided. We would prefer you to complete two forms, rather than none at all.
I've lost my form - The dog's chewed it - I've made a mistake - My child has scribbled over it! Please help!
Sit tight and don't panic! If we don't get your original form back, then you'll receive a Reminder automatically in October. If the same thing happens again at that stage, please contact us and we can send you a replacement.
Why do I have to tell you if there are any 16 or 17 year olds in the house and give their dates of birth? Surely they are too young to vote anyway?
As soon as someone reaches their 18th birthday, they can vote in relevant elections from that day onwards, providing that they are on the Register of Electors. By putting those youngsters on the Register with a date of birth, they will automatically become eligible to vote at the appropriate time, without having to make their own application to go on the Register once they become 18.
Why have you put my child's name on the form? They are only 3 years old!
The only information that we put on the Register is that provided by members of your household. If the person who filled in the form last year put their son/daughter's name on without a date of birth, we may have unwittingly added those details to the Register. Please cross through their name and send us the form back, and we will remove their details from the Register.
Why do you need to know my nationality?
Only people who are British, Irish, Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the European Union are eligible to go on the Register. Depending on the type of election being contested, there are further restrictions on who is eligible to vote on the grounds of nationality - for example, European citizens cannot vote in UK Parliamentary Elections, but can vote in local elections. A full list of qualifying countries is attached below.
European Parliamentary Elections are due to be held in summer of 2014 - I'm Italian, do I need to do anything special to be able to vote in those elections?
Anyone who says that they have a European nationality (other than British/Irish), will be sent a form called a "UC1" in the Spring of 2014. Provided that this form is completed and returned to us no later than 11 working days before the European Parliamentary Election takes place, you will be able to vote in that election from your UK registered address.
The form says that the property is a business premises, but it's turned into a residential property - what should I do?
Simply cross out the reference to "business premises" and complete all the relevant occupier details, then sign the form and return it to the Electoral Services Office using the pre-paid envelope provided.
This property has been a business premises for a number of years - why do we keep having to fill in a form and send it back to you?
Such premises do sometimes convert back to residential properties - we appreciate your assistance to help us to keep our records accurate.
Why do you need to know if the property is a "holiday home" or a "second home"?
You can register to vote in more than one place, providing that you live in both places for approximately equal amounts of time during the year. We may need to contact you to obtain further information from you about this. Please note that if you are registered in more than one place, it is an offence to vote more than once in the same election.
Why do you need to know my previous address if I moved within the last year?
Even though you should tell the Electoral Registration Officer by law when you move house, some people forget to do so. By giving us your old address, we can check our records and make sure that your details have been removed from your old property.
Why do you need my contact details - are these going to be published anywhere or passed on to anyone else?
We find it extremely useful to have either a contact telephone number or e-mail address for your property. If we have a query during the canvass or in the run up to an election, we may need to contact you urgently and this helps us to do so. We do not divulge these details to anyone else - they are purely for the use of the Electoral Services Office, so please fill it in!
Why is my son's name at the top of the form - he's not the "Head of the Household" ... I am!
The Register is produced in house number order within alphabetical streets, which are listed within polling districts. Within each household, we organise the names to appear alphabetically. So, for example, if "Bernard" and "Allison" have a son called "Alan", on the Register they would appear alphabetically as: Alan, Allison and then Bernard.
I've filled in the form, but you've sent it back to me - why?
If we do not understand something that you've put on your form, we may either contact you by telephone, e-mail or letter to obtain further details from you. Also, we do need the form to be signed, so in some cases we will need to return it to you just to obtain the signature of one of the members of your household as being the "person responsible" for providing the information.
I'm trying to use the internet or freephone to register but can't get through - why not?
These methods of registering were only open until midnight on 15 October 2012. If you want to register after that time, you will need to contact the Electoral Registration Office at Shropshire Council to obtain a "rolling registration" form.
I'm just a tenant - shall I give this form to my landlord to fill in?
The form is for the people living in that property. Just because someone else owns it, it is your responsibility as the occupier to complete the form and send it back to us for processing. Remember too, that if you are staying there for a short period, you should contact us again when you move, to make sure that your details are kept up-to-date on the Register.
I own a number of properties in this area. Can my name appear on the Register at every one?
You can only appear on the Register where you spend a "significant amount of time" each year. If you are a landlord, please complete a form for that property if it is vacant (and marking it as unoccupied), but otherwise the form for each of the properties that you own should be completed by the relevant tenant(s) living in it at that time.
Why do we need to tell the Elections Office and the Council Tax Office if we move - surely it's all just one Council?
Think of it in the same way as having a car - you need to get your car insured and you also need to get it taxed. You need both things, but have to get them from two different places. Here at Shropshire Council, the Council Tax Office keeps records of the main householder who pays the bills, with perhaps a note of just their partner, husband or wife. The Electoral Registration Officer keeps a list of all eligible electors living at the property. It is a legal requirement that you should inform the Electoral Registration Officer who is living at your house.
Why does my poll number change every year?
Every time we publish a new Register of Electors, most people have a different poll number. Sometimes there are more people or less people on the Register within your area, so the poll numbers need to be adjusted and may be slightly higher or lower than previously. They may alter significantly if there is a boundary change in your area.
Do I have to remember my poll number for when I go to vote?
No - The Officers on duty will have lists of who is eligible to vote. You should also receive a poll card as a reminder shortly before any election in your area, which will state your poll number, polling station and the opening hours on the relevant day.
Why do you keep sending me these forms every year? It's a waste of my time and the Council's money!
It's the law! We need to compile accurate records and this is our way of obtaining information from each householder.
Why has someone come to my house to ask me for information?
If we still haven't received a reply by a certain date, we have employed canvassers to go door knocking in some areas. It is their job to chase up any outstanding forms.
What will happen if I don't fill in the form?
The law requires you to give the information to the Electoral Registration Officer (Regulation 23 of the Representation of the People Regulations 2001). Any person failing to comply with or give false information could be fined up to £1,000.