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Annual canvass 2017

We must ensure the electoral register is up to date, and to invite eligible people who are not registered to vote to do so.

We will contact all properties in the area to gather this information. This process is called the ‘annual canvass’ and we do this so that we can publish the new Register of Electors on 1 December 2017.

In August or September, you should receive one of the following:

  • a household enquiry form, or HEF, which is an A3 form requesting information
  • a household notification letter/form, which is an A4 letter notifying who is registered and in some cases requesting information
  • an e-mail with a link to an online form

Even if you responded to a letter or form last year, you will be contacted again this year.

Register to vote

The electoral register

What we are doing

Not everyone will be contacted in the same way. Please read the HEF, email or letter that has been sent to your address carefully.

In past years we have sent the same household enquiry form (HEF) to all properties in the area.

However this year we are taking part in a government pilot scheme to look at new ways to carry out the canvass and collect responses from local people.

We will send a HEF or email to some people, but most people will receive a letter. Please follow the instructions given on the letter that has been sent to your address carefully.

We have not obtained your email address from any other council department, or from another organisation. We were given it when you or another member of your household completed a HEF in a previous canvass, or when you registered to vote. If you do not want us to have your email on file then please let us know.

The email will not come from a South Lakeland District Council address, if you do have any concerns please contact us.

Respond to the annual canvass 2017

Your response will be used to update the information about your property. We will contact all the people in your household who are eligible and need to register to vote separately.

We contact all properties in the South Lakeland area over the next five weeks and we will receive a very high volume of calls. We apologise in advance for any difficulty you may have in getting through to us on by telephone.

Our office (01539 733 333) is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm and the automated service (08082 841 468) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You may wish to try again another time, or respond using the electronic response page.

Respond to an e-mail form

If you still live at the property, you must visit the electronic response page to view and confirm or change your details.

If you have moved out within the last three months, you must let us know by clicking on the ‘moved house’ link.

You must respond to this email, even if the information we have about your household is correct.

Respond to a HEF

If you receive a HEF (the A3 form), you must respond to it, even if there are no changes.

You can respond in one of the following ways:

  • visit the electronic response page and use your security code
  • complete the form and return it to us in the prepaid envelope provided
  • call 08082 841 468 and use your security code
  • if you have no changes to make to your household information, you can text your security code to 07786 209368, leaving a space between the two sets of numbers. This number will not allow you to make any changes to your information.

If you have used your security code to respond, but have made a mistake, you cannot use your security code again. Contact us and we will make any changes needed.

If you have misplaced or damaged your HEF, contact us and we will take you response over the phone.

Respond to a letter

If there are no changes, you might not need to respond to the letter. However, if your letter states that we need you to respond, you must do so, even if there are no changes. Please follow the instructions that have been given in the letter. Contact us if you have any queries about this.

Even if you are registered to vote or recently have applied to vote, if your letter, HEF or e-mail asks for a response, you must do so.

The letter, HEF or e-mail we have sent to you is not a registration form. If someone in your household is not registered, please add them to your response. We will then write or email them separately and invite them to register to vote.

Paying Council Tax does not mean that you are automatically registered to vote. Everyone must now register to vote individually.

Make a change to your letter, HEF, or email

You have recently registered but are missing from the list of people at your address

We have used the register published on 1 August for the annual canvass. If you have registered after this date, we are processing your application and your name will be missing from the list. If we need to contact you about your registration, we will.

However, even if you have registered recently, you need to respond to your HEF, e-mail or letter to let us know that you live there.

Your letter, HEF or e-mail has the details of people who no longer live at your address

You must let us know that they no longer live at the address.

If you have received a HEF and choose to return the paper form, you can cross out the names of anyone who no longer lives there.

If you use the electronic response page, the system will allow you to remove names, when prompted.

If your letter gives you the option to contact the office to respond, we can begin the process of removing their names after speaking to you.

Your HEF, e-mail or letter lists a person who has died

We are usually made aware that someone has passed away by a ‘tell us once’ form. However since we use the register published on 1 August 2017 for the canvass, any changes to the household made after this date will not be reflected in our letters, forms or emails.

To let us know us know if someone has passed away:

  • if you have received a HEF and choose to return the paper form, you can cross out their name
  • if you use the electronic response page, the system will allow you to amend who now lives at the property
  • if you contact the office on 01539 733 333 to respond, we can take this information over the telephone and begin the process of updating the property records


You should include students who have or are about to move to university. Students can register at both their home and term-time addresses.

Residents in long term care

You should not include anyone who has moved out of the property and into long-term care, such a nursing home. The nursing home is now their main home and they should be registered there instead.

During the annual canvass we will send the home a form, so please speak to the manager or officer in charge to ensure they have included your friend or relative in their response.

Residents aged 16 to 17 years old

16 to 17 year olds must be included in your response. Although people aged 16 to 17 years old are not eligible to vote, being registered will ensure they can vote as soon as they reach 18. If they are not already registered, we will write to them separately and invite them to register.

Children aged under 16 must not be included in your response.

Residents aged 76 or over

We need to know if you are aged 76 or over. The age limits for serving on a jury are 18 to 75 and the jury summoning service selects people from the electoral register.

Change your preferred voting method

Change your preferred voting method from postal or proxy to in person

To cancel an absent vote please write to us, including your name, address and a short message clearly stating that you would prefer to vote in person from now on.

Email or write to South Lakeland House, Lowther Street, Kendal, LA9 4DQ.

Anyone else in your household wishing to make the same change must contact us separately.

Change your preferred voting method from in person to postal or by proxy

You can let us know that you would prefer to vote by post when you respond to your e-mail, HEF or letter. You can select a postal vote and once we receive this information we will send you a postal vote application form.

Selecting a postal vote in your response does not mean that you will automatically have a postal vote from now on; you must complete the separate form we will send to you.

Apply to vote by proxy


If we have sent a reminder HEF, e-mail or letter, we have not received a response to the first HEF, e-mail or letter.

If you have already sent a response, but we have still sent a reminder, please contact us. It may be that we received your response after sending your address details to our printer and Royal Mail.