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Register and how to vote

Annual Canvass 2020

Each year the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) has a legal requirement to conduct an annual canvass to ensure the electoral register is accurate and complete. The 2020 annual canvass has been reformed by the Cabinet Office. They have set new instructions for the ERO to follow and these are set in law.

Stage 1

For those properties where we think there may not be any changes to the information we hold, we will email all residents in the property where they have provided us with an email address on 7 July. If the same email address has been used for more than one resident, then you will receive more than one email. Only one person within the household needs to respond to the email. You need to respond to this email to either confirm the information is correct or to advise us of any changes.

If a response is not received or we do not hold an email address for you, then a form will be sent to you by post at the beginning of August and you will only need to respond if the information has changed.

Act Now. Responding to the email will save the Council money.

The email will not request any information such as bank details so if you notice anything suspicious or something doesn't feel right, please do not respond.

Stage 2

For properties where we think the information we hold is not up to date, we will send a form for you to either confirm the information or advise us of any changes. It is important that you respond to this form to avoid further reminders being sent to you.

The form will be sent mid-July.

The communication you receive will explain the different ways to respond which are:

  • Visit the website to confirm the details or make changes
  • Enter your unique two-part security code as shown on the email or form you have been sent
  • Update or confirm your household information and submit

Or if there are no changes to the information:

  • Call 0800 197 9871 and when prompted enter part one and part two of your security code
  • Texting NOCHANGE followed by your security code to 80212 (if nobody is eligible to vote include a reason after your security code e.g. empty, business, second home, none, other)

If you are not able to use any of the above options, then you can phone us on 0300 456 0112 or return the form to us by post.

FAQs Annual Canvass 2020

By law, you will be contacted every year to find out if there have been any changes to who is living at your address. If there are changes, you must provide the information requested. The purpose of the canvass communication is to confirm who lives at your address. This means we can invite other residents, including any 16 and 17-year-olds, to register to vote.


Responding to the canvass communication only takes a few minutes. Follow the details on how to respond shown on the communication or see above. You need to include the name and nationality of everyone aged 16 or over who is resident and eligible to register to vote. If there are no eligible residents, you should state why this is the case. If anyone listed on the form is not living at your address, their name/s should be clearly crossed through.


If you have made any changes to the information, we may contact you again for further information. If you have added someone to the property they will need to register individually at www.gov.uk/registertovote.


This depends on the type of communication you have received. If we have requested you to respond, then you must respond to avoid further reminders being sent.


No, you don’t need to return any paper communication if you have responded by another method.

Who is eligible to register?

You can register to vote if you are:

  • 16 years old or over (you can only vote once you are 18)
  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK
  • an EU citizen resident in the UK

A qualifying Commonwealth citizen is someone who has leave to enter or remain in the UK, or does not require such leave.


There are 2 versions of the electoral register - the full version and the ‘open register’

Everyone’s name and address is included on the full version of the electoral register.The full version of the register is only used for:

  • elections preventing and detecting crime
  • checking applications for loans or credit
  • jury summoning in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

You can opt out of the open register. This is the version of the register that’s available to anyone who wants to buy a copy.

To opt out, email us at openregister@wiltshire.gov.uk or phone us on 0300 456 0112

Opting out does not affect your right to vote.


Yes! Wiltshire Council has chosen to use the Government’s secure email notification service to contact electors as part of the annual canvass, which will cut costs and be more convenient for electors. Emails were sent using the email address wiltshire.electoral.services@notifications.service.gov.uk

If you do not wish to click on links in the email, you can copy and paste them into your browser.


Wiltshire Council uses an external company to handle the responses sent through on paper forms. This company is bound by the same security and privacy regulations as the Electoral Services department.

We are required by law to undertake a Household Canvass on an annual basis, to confirm who lives at, and is eligible to vote from, each property in our local authority.

Yes. As per the following legislation: The Representation of the People (Annual Canvass)(Amendment) Regulations 2019 reg 32ZBE(3)

By providing us with your email address which is optional, it allows us to contact you quickly and is a cost-free way of communicating.


Who should register?

The electoral register is a list of people who are registered to vote. If you meet the requirements below please register.

  • 16 or over (you cannot vote until your 18th birthday)
  • British or Commonwealth citizen/citizen of the Irish Republic/citizen of another EU state

Citizens of EU member states cannot vote in UK Parliamentary elections and must fill in a separate form to vote in the European elections.

For details on registering as a service voter or overseas elector, please see the Electoral Commission.

How you can vote

You can vote in person, by post or ask someone to vote on your behalf (proxy vote). See the downloads and links section.

If you would like to cancel an existing postal or proxy voting arrangement, use the form in the downloads section.

If you are setting up or cancelling any current arrangements because of an election or referendum, please refer to our forthcoming elections or referendums web page as statutory deadline dates may apply.

In person at the polling station

If you are registered to vote, a poll card will be sent to you a few days before the election. Your card tells you where your polling station is and when it will be open. You do not need your poll card to vote although it will help the staff at the polling station if you bring it with you.

You will be allocated to a polling station. If you would like to find out where your usual polling station is, please contact the Electoral Services team on 0300 456 0112.

Please visit GOV.UK for more information about how to vote in person.


Every ballot paper has a unique serial number and by law, a record is kept of every serial number issued to each voter. The copy of the register used in the polling station is already marked to show who has a postal or proxy vote. The poll clerk on duty will put a small mark against your name to show you have voted and to make sure that nobody tries to vote at the station pretending to be you.

At the close of poll, documents which list the serial numbers of the ballot papers and who they have been issued to are sealed in special packets and cannot be opened without a court order. This enables checks should a legal challenge be made to the result of the election.

It is very rare for the documents to be examined except in cases where fraud or impersonation (i.e someone voting illegally on someone else’s behalf) are being investigated. Because of these safeguards, it is virtually impossible for any person to be in a position to match the voter to a particular ballot paper. For that reason, voters can be confident that the ballot remains secret.


Instead of using a household form to register to vote, everyone is responsible for their own registration.

IER has been introduced nationally to help tackle electoral fraud. The system also means that people can register online, making it easier for you to make sure you are registered.

You will be asked to provide identifying information such as a date of birth and your national insurance number. This means your application is verified before you are added to the register and reduces the risk of fraud and inaccurate entries on the register.

Once registered, you will receive a letter to let you know that either:

  • you have been successfully transferred to the IER register and do not need to do anything further
  • you need to provide additional information to the electoral registration officer in order to be registered under IER


There is usually a 7-10 day overlap for the printing and sending of reminder letters. If you have applied within the last few days and you have received an acknowledgement please ignore the reminder. If you have not received an acknowledgement letter, please call us on 0300 456 0112 or email us at elections@wiltshire.gov.uk and we can check our records.


If we cannot verify your application after you have provided your National Insurance number and date of birth, we will write to you requesting further information.

To verify who you are, you will be required to provide evidence of your identity such as a driving licence or passport. You do not have to send us original documents, photocopies are acceptable. Once we receive the evidence we can then process your application.


Emergency Proxy Voting

You may be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote for employment or medical reasons. To qualify, you will have only been made aware of the circumstances after 5pm six working days before the polling day. You can apply from this time and up to 5pm on polling day itself.

To apply, you must be registered and your appointed proxy must meet the following criteria:

  • Registered to vote
  • Eligable to vote in this particular type of poll
  • Cannot act on behalf of more than two people at any one election, unless they are a close relative

To apply for an emergency proxy please contact the Electoral Services Team on 0300 456 0112 or download the emergency proxy application in the sidebar. If you are applying for a postal or proxy vote during an election timetable which is already running, specific deadline dates will apply.

The electoral register explained

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for 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 and checking credit applications.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else. 

The current full electoral register is available for inspection under supervision at our four main council offices:

  • Trowbridge - County Hall, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN
  • Devizes - Devizes Community Hub and Library, Sheep Street, Devizes, SN10 1DL
  • Salisbury - The Council Offices, Bourne Hill, Salisbury, SP1 3UZ
  • Chippenham - The Council Offices, Monkton Park, SN15 1ER


The open register is an extract of the electoral register but it 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.

You can find more information about both registers and how they may be used on the GOV.UK website.

Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. You can remove your details at any time by contacting us. Please provide your name and address and state that you wish to be removed from the open register.

Email us: openregister@wiltshire.gov.uk

Call us on: 0300 456 0112

Write to us: Electoral Registration Officer
                   Electoral Services
                   County Hall
                   Bythesea Road
                   BA14 8JN

If you would like to buy the open register or any part of it, please contact the Electoral Registration office on 0300 456 0112.


Rolling registration means you can register at any time of the year. The dates below show when your details will appear on the electoral register, subject to successful verification under the Individual Electronic Registration (IER) process. If you wish to register for a local election in your area, you can register up to 12 days before the poll.

 Qualify Date   Publish Date

Monday 9 September 20198

Tuesday 1 October 2019

Thursday 10 October 2019

Friday 1 November 2019

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Thursday 2 January 2020

Friday 10 January 2020

Monday 3 February 2020

Friday 7 February 2020

Monday 2 March 2020

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Tuesday 7 April 2020

Friday 1 May 2020

Thursday 7 May 2020

Monday 1 June 2020

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Friday 10 July 2020

Monday 3 August 2020

Monday 10 August 2020

Tuesday 1 September 2020


Electoral services policy

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Last updated: 3 July 2020 | Last reviewed: 3 July 2020