Annual canvass frequently asked questions

Your annual canvass form (Household Enquiry Form) is being sent out in early July. Here we answer some of the commonly asked questions about the canvass and what you should do.

If you have a question that's not answered here, please contact us.


You will have received a Household Enquiry Form (HEF) as part of the ‘annual canvass’. This survey is carried out every year in order to make sure that the register of electors is kept up to date.

The household enquiry form collects the details of everyone who lives at your address so that we know who is eligible to register to vote. 

The form will be addressed to "the present occupier" and will contain the details of all those in the household who are registered to vote.

Each household is required by law to make sure that the details on the form are correct.

Most HEFs will list the details of who we think lives at your property. Properties where no one is registered to vote will receive a blank HEF.

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 who are not already registered to vote. It also allows you to notify us of any changes to your details or if people are no longer living at a property so we can remove them.

If there are changes to the details on the form, the easiest and quickest way to return the form is by completing it online by going to the address on the front of the form

Alternatively, if there are no changes, you can return the form by going online or using the phone number or text service using the pre-printed codes on the form.

If you prefer to return the form by post then you can make any necessary changes and return it in the freepost envelope provided.

You will need to do the following:

  • Check the details pre-printed on the form are correct
  • Add the name and nationality of any resident whose name is not already on the form (they must be aged 16 or over 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 HEF is not living at your address, their name/s should be clearly crossed through

Sign the form and return it in the envelope provided.

No, you don't need to return the paper form if you have completed the form online.

You can register to vote if you are:

  • 16 years old or over (you can only vote when you are 18)
  • a UK citizen
  • 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.

If you haven't made any changes to the form then you don’t need to do anything further.

If you have added people to the form then we will get in touch with them to invite them to register individually. The easiest way for them to do this is to register to vote online at

Otherwise we will send a paper form in the post.

It does mean you are currently registered to vote. However, we still need you to return the form to us to confirm the details. Otherwise we will send reminder forms to you and you may receive a visit from a member of our staff. You are required to return the household enquiry form by law.

We will only use your email and phone number to contact you about voter registration or election matters. We won't give it to anyone else, or use it for any other purpose.

Yes. We send out household enquiry forms every year and they have to be returned by law. We need the information from these forms so that we know who is eligible to register and can encourage them to do so.

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

Everyone’s name and address goes 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, contact the elections office.

Opting out does not affect your right to vote.