Annual Canvass

Information regarding the annual canvass and how to respond

What is the annual canvass?

As a Local Authority, we are required to write to each household every year to check that the data we hold on the electoral register is accurate. This process is called the annual canvass.

Households are contacted by email, post or phone. Please note that not all households are contacted at the same time during the canvass process.

If you have provided us with your email address previously you will receive a communication from the following address;

The subject line will be ‘Act now so North Devon District Council can check who is eligible to be registered to vote at your address’.

This is a genuine email from North Devon Council and not spam. Please follow the steps and respond as soon as possible.

Following the annual canvass the Electoral register is re-published on 1st December 2023.

How to respond

The form or email received will contain instructions on how to respond.

  • If you need to tell us about a change you can do so online through the household response website or by returning the form.
  • If all of the information is correct you can confirm the information by text, phone, online or by returning the form.

It is quicker and easier to respond online on the household response website. This is a secure online site. You will need the security codes provided on your email or form and postcode to submit a response.

What happens next

Once you have replied to the canvass communication, the changes will be made on the Electoral Register.

IMPORTANT: Responding to the canvass form does not register you to vote. This is a two-step process, responding to the annual canvass form is the first step.  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.


Frequently asked questions

Who can 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.

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

Yes, you will still receive an annual canvass communication. If there are changes to the property occupants, 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.

What will happen after I complete the canvass communication?

Any new electors added to the canvass form (eligible to vote) will receive a form to register to vote. However, you don’t need to wait until you receive this invitation. You can register to vote anytime online, using the following link:

Anyone crossed out on a canvass from will allow us to remove them from the electoral register at that address.

If you have changed your name on the register, you will be contacted to confirm your change of name and provide evidence. You can send us the proof of ‘change of name’ by email to

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 does not live at your address, please cross through their name/s as per instructions.

Do I put down everyone who lives here?

You only need to include the name and nationality of everyone aged 16 or over who is a 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 do not have to include this information, however you are invited to do so to help us contact you in case there is a problem or we need to send you information in connection with your registration.

I have already returned a canvass communication, do I need to return the registration form I've received too?

You should complete and return the registration form or register online at The canvass communication is not a registration form, but instead provides us with information on who lives in your household. This means we can invite other residents, including any 16 or 17 year-olds, to register to vote if we need to.

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

I am a student - should I register to vote in North Devon?

If you are a student you can vote using your university or home address. It is legal to be registered in two areas, but a criminal offence to vote more than once in the same election. If you are already registered at your home address, you can use a postal vote or proxy vote if you are not there on the election day.

I have received my form at my second home

If you have a second home within North Devon and you split your time equally between two homes, you can still register to vote at this property to vote in local elections and referendums. 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 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 such as a Parliamentary General Election.

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.

Disabilities and Incapacity

If you have a reason that prevents you from completing the canvass form or registering to vote please get in touch with Electoral Services in writing to Lynton House, Commercial Road, Barnstaple, EX31 1DG or email so that we can best assist you.