Data matching streamlines annual voter canvass

The process of confirming their voter registration will be smoother and simpler for most residents, thanks to a massive new information sharing project. 

Published: Monday, 3rd August 2020

Cherwell District Council checks and updates voter details every year. But new, streamlined processes will use data from the Department of Work and Pensions to securely confirm electors’ details. Over 45,000 households were matched at the first pass.

Early in August, these households will receive a letter from the council confirming who is registered at their address but, in contrast to previous years, they will not need to reply. People whose information is not matched via this route will be asked to either confirm it is correct online or via text or update their details online. Any new residents will need to register, the easiest way to do this is online

Yvonne Rees, Cherwell’s electoral registration officer, said: “I want everyone to have the chance to have their say when elections come around. These changes make the process of confirming their details easier for anyone who has lived in the same place for some time.

“For people who have recently moved home or turned 18, it is really easy to register to vote online. We are encouraging more people to choose this route. It will save time and a lot of paper too. 

“This year’s local elections have been delayed, but being registered to vote is vital for anything that involves a credit check. That could be applying for a mortgage or getting a new mobile phone. So I urge anyone who receives an invitation to register to reply sooner rather than later.”

The final stage of the annual canvass is door-knocking, which will be scheduled for autumn. The council will look to minimise this in light of the public health situation, making it especially important that people respond as promptly as they can.

It is essential that people update their details on the electoral register when moving home. The Electoral Commission says that across Great Britain, 92 per cent of people who have been at their property for more than 16 years will be registered, compared to just 36 per cent of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

The option to register using a paper form will be available later in the year, and the council’s electoral services team will be offering telephone support to anyone who needs it

The next local elections are scheduled for May 2021.