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Annual Canvass

How to complete the household response canvass for 2023.

What the annual canvass is and how to respond

Each year the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) has a legal requirement to contact all households in the local authority to check that the data we hold on the electoral register is accurate.

Households will be contacted by email or post. Not all households are contacted at the same time during the canvass.

Following the annual canvass, the Electoral register is re-published on 1 December.

How to respond

Follow the instructions in your email or letter. You may not need to do anything if your details have not changed. 

It is quicker to respond using online or text options. You will need your unique two-part security code printed on the form.

You can reply:

  • online at
  • by phone 0800 197 9871 at any time and enter your two-part security codes when prompted
  • by text or SMS to 80212 and in the message type NO CHANGE followed by your security codes
  • by post, make sure you complete the form fully, provide all the information requested and that you have signed the form

What happens next

Once you have replied to the canvass communication the changes will be made on the electoral register.

Responding to the canvass form does not register you to vote. If you add anyone to a form they will be sent an email or a form with instructions on how to register to vote. Registering to vote is quicker and easier online at You will need your national insurance number

Contact us

Electoral Services
Torbay Council
Castle Circus

Telephone: 01803 208008

Can I register to vote?

You can register to vote if:

  • you are aged 16 years or over (although you will not be able to vote until you turn 18)
  • British, Irish or EU citizens, or
  • a Commonwealth citizen who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK.

You can use the tools on the Electoral Commission site to find out if you are eligible to register to vote.

I’m already registered, will I get an annual canvass communication?

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 if we need to.

Why do you need to send a canvass communication every year?

In order to know who is eligible to register to vote, including any 16 or 17 year-olds, we need to know who lives at your address. The canvass communication is designed to collect this information. The information provided on the form will allow us to send a separate individual registration form to all the people in your household who are eligible and need to register.

What will happen after I complete the canvass communication?

Any new names provided on the form will be sent a form to register to vote. Registering to vote is quick and easy online at

Anyone crossed out on a canvass from will allow us to remove them from the electoral register at that address. In order to be removed from the electoral register we need two pieces of evidence so we might write to that person individually to check if they are registered. If no response is received they will be automatically deleted from the register after 14 days.

Anyone changing their name on the register will be contacted to confirm their change of name. The most common reasons for this is marriage. You may be contacted to ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or deed poll.

Your name on the electoral register should be the same as on any official documents so please include your full name including any middle names.

There are people listed on the canvass communication that don’t live here, what do I do?

If anyone listed on the form is not living at your address, their name/s should be clearly crossed through.

Do I include everyone who lives here?

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 give a reason why e.g. business premises, second home.

Do I need to include my email address and phone number on the canvass form?

You are invited to include your email address and phone number on the canvass form, but you do not have to. We will use this information only in connection with your registration, and it helps us to contact you if there is a problem.

Is the data I enter online secure?

The online service and data you provide is secure. It has been independently accredited, security tested and developed to meet the best practice guidelines for data security. is hosted by Civica Xpress who are accredited by the government. You can see their accreditation under operational security at GOV.UK.

I have received my form at my second home

If you split your time equally between two homes, you may be able to register to vote at both addresses. For example you might live and work in two different places and split your time equally. You can only register to vote at each address if you split your time equally between both locations or you are a student. An application to register at a second home is considered on a case by case basis and depends on the amount of time you spend at each address. You cannot register to vote at your second home if you are only resident occasionally and you should indicate that the property is your second home on the canvass communication before returning it. If you are registered to vote at two addresses, you are only allowed to vote once at a national election like a Parliamentary General Election.

See the Electoral Commission site for more information on registering to vote if you have a second home.

Why is the form addressed to the occupier?

The format of a canvass communication is set by the Electoral Commission. It is addressed to The Occupier because anyone in the property can respond to the form on behalf of the household.

Contact Elections