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Home > Elections > Annual Canvass > Canvass Changes FAQs

Canvass Changes FAQs

The way we carry out the annual canvass to update the electoral register has changed.

Instead of sending all households a form, we carried out a data matching exercise with the Department of Work and Pensions in June.

During this process we were able to match all occupants in over 80% of households.

These households will be sent an email asking them to respond if the information is either correct or incorrect, or a letter asking them to only respond if the information is wrong (letter A). For those households that did not match the letter will ask you confirm your details (letter B).

The letters will also explain how to respond to correct or update the information, online or via a Freephone number.

Here are 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.

Do I need to respond to any communication sent?

If you have received Letter A – you do not need to reply unless changes are required.

If you have received Letter B – you must reply to confirm that everything is correct or make relevant changes.

The quickest and easiest way to make any changes is online, or by calling the Freephone number provided on any communication you receive.

If I have responded to the form online or by calling the Freephone number, do I still need to return the paper communication?

No, you don’t need to return any paper communication if you have responded online, or by using the Freephone number.

Who is eligible to register?

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.

I completed a return to add someone to be registered. What happens next?

Anyone new to your household who is not shown on any communication sent needs to register to vote. This is individual registration.

Register online

It only takes 5 minutes and you must give your personal identifiers, such as your date of birth and National Insurance Number.

My details are already on the communication I have received, so does this mean I am registered to vote?

Yes, it means that you are currently registered to vote. You only need to tell us if someone is no longer at the property so we can remove them, or if there is anyone new to the household they need to individually register

Why do you want my email and phone number?

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.

I've recently registered to vote. Do I still need to respond to any communications received?

No, only if your details are wrong or not showing on anything we send you.

I have received a text message - is it a scam?

As part of the 2021 annual process our Electoral Services team have used the Gov.notify text message service to contact residents across the districts.

Messages will come from MID_SUFF_DC or BABERGH_DC.

From Monday 23 August 2021, the Electoral team will send weekly batches of text messages asking residents to complete their electoral registration. If you have received a message please complete your registration by visiting

For residents that do not register on line electoral registration form will be sent to your property.

Opting out of the 'open register'

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

Everyone’s name and address is included 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 is 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.

What is the Electoral register?

The Electoral register is a list of the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote within Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s electoral area.

"Yes" means that you are currently registered to vote. You only need to tell us if someone is no longer at the property so we can remove them, or if there is anyone new to the household they need to individually register.