Voting - top myths busted
Published on 23rd September 2019
Every household in Cheltenham will have received a household enquiry form from the council’s electoral registration office. Canvassers are delivering reminders to households.
Each year householders are asked who in their household is eligible to vote. The ‘annual canvass’ ensures the correct details are on the electoral register before it's published on 1 December. Residents are reminded that if someone in their household is not registered to vote another form will be sent and they will need to register individually.
To ensure you are registered you will need to respond to the household enquiry form online www.elecreg.co.uk/cheltenham using your two part security code.
Kim Smith, elections and registration manager says: “We’ve had a great response so far but each year we receive a number of enquiries that are ‘voting myths’ and we wanted to help dispel these, we hope people find them useful. Our canvassers are currently delivering reminder forms to households who have not yet responded.”
Myth 1: I pay council tax, so I’m registered to vote
Reality: False - The council tax register and the electoral register are two separate registers and are completely different. The council tax register shows the name of the bill payer but not necessarily the people who live at the property. For this and many other legal reasons, the electoral registration officer is not permitted to take names from the council tax register and put them on the electoral register.
Myth 2: My credit score won’t be affected if I’m not on the register
Reality: False - You may be told by a bank or credit reference agency that you have been denied credit because your name does not appear on the electoral register. This is because the electoral register is often used for credit referencing purposes to counteract fraud. Occasionally the records maintained by credit reference agencies need updating - they should be able to supply you with a copy of your record so that you can check the details.
Myth 3: If I register, my personal details will be sold to other organisations
Reality: False - There are two versions of the register - the electoral register and the open register. The electoral register is used only for electoral purposes, calling people for jury service, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for credit. The open register is available for general sale and can be used for commercial activities such as direct marketing. Your name and address will appear on the electoral register but you have the choice to opt-out of the open register.
Myth 4: I’m a student and I registered at home so I don’t need to register again
Reality: False – Each voter is now responsible for their own registration – it's no longer the head of the household's job, so don't fall into the trap of thinking your mum, dad or more-organised housemate can do it for you. If you are 16 or 17 years old and will be 18 within the life of the electoral register you should register. If an election is called and you are not 18 at that time, then you will not qualify to vote. However, if an election is called and you are 18, then you will be entitled to vote.
If you are not registered to vote, you can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
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The annual canvass which the law says must be carried out every year.
The information is used to compile a new register of electors eligible to vote which will be published by 1 December.
For more information about voting, elections and other frequently asked questions go to the council website www.cheltenham.gov.uk/elections