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.
With elections taking place in West Devon in May 2021, including the postponed Police and Crime Commissioner election, this is an important opportunity for residents to make sure they can take part.
The annual canvass ensures that West Devon 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. They would then be able take part in any future elections and referendums.
Andy Bates, Chief Executive at West Devon Borough Council, said:
"It's important that residents keep an eye out for messages from the council so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in West Devon. To make sure you are able to have your say at elections taking place next year, simply follow the instructions from your local authority.
"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 www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, 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. We are working to ensure that we take account of public health guidelines, including the continued importance of social distancing."
People who have moved recently are particularly encouraged to look out for the voter registration messages from WDBC 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.
Melanie Davidson, Head of Support and Improvement at the Electoral Commission, said:
"It's really important that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so. Making sure you provide the necessary information to your local authority when it is needed will ensure the process runs smoothly. This is particularly helpful in the current public health situation, as it will help avoid the need for home visits from canvassers.
"There's lots of helpful information about registering to vote on our website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter."
Any residents who have any questions can contact their local registration team at via the website www.westdevon.gov.uk/annual-canvass