Don’t lose your voice - annual canvass 2020

Published on 25th August 2020

Annual canvass is under way

Residents in Cheltenham are urged to look out for their voter registration details from Cheltenham Borough Council.

Local residents are being warned not to lose their voice on decisions that affect them by making sure their electoral registration details are up to date and to follow the instructions they receive by email, text message or from letters sent.

With elections taking place in Cheltenham in May 2021, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.

The annual canvass ensures that Cheltenham Borough Council can keep the electoral register up to date, identifying any residents who are not registered so that they can be encouraged to do so.

Paul Jones, electoral registration officer at Cheltenham Borough Council said: “It’s important that residents keep an eye out for messages from the council, so that we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Cheltenham. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections which are due to take place next year, simply follow the instructions that you receive.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear in the messages we send. If you want to register, the easiest way is online at, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post.

“This year’s canvass, which we have to carry out by law, is taking place during a challenging public health situation and by following the instructions received this will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.’’

People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from Cheltenham Borough Council and check the details. Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that recent home movers are far less likely to be registered than those who have lived at the same address for a long time. Across Great Britain, 92% of people who have been at their property for more than sixteen years will be registered, compared to 36% of people who have lived at an address for less than one year.

Further information can be found at Residents who have any questions can contact the electoral services team by email or call 01242 264132.

For media enquiries contact or call 01242 264 332

For more information about the electoral process contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or

Notes to editors

Elections are taking place in Cheltenham in May 2021

The Representation of the People Act 1983 places a duty on Electoral Registration Officers to maintain the electoral register for their area and to conduct an annual canvass of all residential properties.

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service or checking credit applications.

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

To be eligible to register to vote a person must be:

Aged 16 or over (a person may register to vote at 16, but may not vote until they are 18)

A British or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who has leave to enter and remain in the UK or does not require such leave.

A citizen of the Republic of Ireland or other European Union (EU) member state.

British citizens, Irish citizens and qualifying citizens of Commonwealth countries (including Cyprus and Malta) can vote in local government elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. To date, the UK Government has not made changes to the eligibility of EU citizens, meaning at present they too can vote in these elections.

Full details of the Electoral Commission’s research on the electoral registers can be found on its website.