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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The way we register to vote is changing - find out how it affects you

The way you register to vote is changing across the UK. In West Lancashire a number of residents may need to take action to join the new register, even if they were registered in the past.

The voter registration system has undergone its biggest change in 100 years, and the new system came into force in June 2014.

The new system is called ‘Individual Electoral Registration’. Previously, the ‘head of household’ was responsible for registering everyone who lived at an address, but now every individual is responsible for their own voter registration. The new system means that for the first time people are now able to register online. To register, you will need to provide a few more details, including your National Insurance number and date of birth. This helps make the electoral register more secure.

West Lancashire Borough Council is writing to local residents to tell them about the change. You could be one of the people who needs to re-register so it’s important that you look out for a letter in mid-July that will tell you if you need to take action.

Gill Rowe, Returning Officer, said: “If you are not registered to vote, then you won’t be able to exercise your democratic right to have a say in future elections and referendums. If you receive a letter inviting you to register, it’s very important you respond.”

Most people who are already registered will be transferred automatically to the new register. However some in West Lancashire will need to re-register. There are also people in the area who are not registered to vote at all and so need to join the register to have their say in elections. If you weren’t registered previously, you can register under the new system at the government's website (external link). This is a simple and quick process, a couple of minutes and you can be on the register!

This is the biggest change to the voter registration system in 100 years. Locally, we are focused on ensuring that people have the information they need to join the new register. To find out more, please visit the government's website (external link) or register to vote, or call the Elections Office on 01695 585014.

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