1.1The Purpose of the Personal Canvass Is to Visit All Non-Responding Households in Your

1.1The Purpose of the Personal Canvass Is to Visit All Non-Responding Households in Your




1.1The purpose of the personal canvass is to visit all non-responding households in your allocated canvass area and to ensure that an electoral registration form is completed for all households. The information that you collect will be used to produce the electoral roll for 2013/14.

1.2The initial electoral registration form will be sent out from the printers to all properties in the Borough at the beginning of October. Householders will have the opportunity to register by telephone and internet if there are no changes from last year.

1.3First reminders go out from the printers on at the beginning of November.

1.4When you begin your electoral canvass work it is expected that the number of non responding households will have reduced to about 25%. Obviously the response rate will vary between canvass areas.


1st October / Initial forms posted out from printers
Beginning November / Reminder forms go out from printers
28th November /
  • Training session for canvassers – date and time to be confirmed.
  • Collection of canvasser forms and equipment from Electoral Services following the briefing.

28th November – 23rd December / First Visits - Visit every non-responding household in your area to get the form completed or post a visiting card.
Return completed forms to Electoral Services on at least a weekly basis (don’t save up to the end of first visits).
By 13th January 2014 / Second Visitsto be completed – re-visit every remaining non-responding property in your area in order to get the form completed or leave the form and final reminder letter.
Once visits completed. Deliver completed forms, worksheets, mileage sheets and equipment to Electoral Services.


3.1A briefing for all canvassers will be held in November at a time to be agreed nearer the time. You will collect your equipment and canvass forms after this briefing. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at this briefing but if you do have any thoughts beforehand please give us a call.

3.2When collecting your forms and worksheet there will be a need to update the records to reflect any forms or telephone or internet registrations that might have taken place in the days immediately prior to 28th November (schedules and forms have to be printed earlier). You will be given arecent responders list listing those forms received between the date the data went to the printers and you collecting your forms – please remove these forms and mark off your worksheet as you will not be paid for delivering them!

3.3The canvassing period is 28th November to 13th January and you will be expected to visit each property at least twice (obviously if you obtain the information at the first visit the second visit is unnecessary). Visits should be made between 8.30am and 8.30pm Monday to Saturday and 9.30am and 8.30pm on Sunday. We recommend that calls be made at different times of the day and experience has shown that the best time to contact householders is early evening or at weekends.

3.4It is essential to make an early start to the canvass and at least one visit must be made by 23rd December.

3.5You must record on your work sheet the date and times of each of your visits. Worksheets must be kept in a tidy state as they are used after the canvass to answer electoral queries.

3.6Updates of registration forms that have been received in the office will be emailed to you regularly so you can mark these off your worksheet and you know not to revisit.

3.7Where there is difficulty accessing a property/properties you are expected to make an effort to contact security staff/managing agents etc to obtain information/gain access (explain that you are undertaking a statutory duty). If you still can’t gain access you should return the forms immediately to the Elections Office for posting out.

3.8If, on your first visit, you do not make contact with the householder you should post a visiting card through the door in the hope that this will remind the householder to register prior to your second visit.

3.9All completed forms should be returned to the Election Office on a regular basis (at least once a week). Do not hold onto forms until the end of visiting deadlines. Speak to the elections staff about any forms you have queries with so we can try and resolve these.

3.10We might ask you to visit properties which have returned forms or have had forms returned by Royal Mail / Developers for clarification purposes, and also contact electors who need assistance. You will be paid for any additional forms.


4.1The training session will cover the requirements of the form. Beforehand please read the electoral registration form and the contents on the reverse page so that you are familiar with all parts of the form to be completed. A canvasser doorstep checklistwill be included in your equipment to assist you.

4.2Please refer to the registration form:

1 / every form is pre-printed with the address and details of the electorate from the previous year.
2 / confirm, with the householder, that the details on the form remain the same or, if not, the form is amended accordingly to reflect those living there as at the qualifying date. In addition it should be confirmed with electors whether they wish to opt-out of the edited register or require a postal vote. The opt-out will not be pre-printed on the canvass form so everyone will need to be asked this question.
3 / the nationality of everyone living at the property must be entered on the form, even if they are British. A list of all eligible countries will be contained in your equipment. If in any doubt get them to enter their nationality and the elections staff will check the form when it is returned.
4 / if rising 18 year olds are to be added to the form they are entered with the other names but their date of birth must be entered in the relevant column. (16 & 17 year olds).
5 / if no one is eligible then please ensure Section B is completed. Provide details where necessary eg. property empty – no furniture, and sign off the form.
6 / the form must be signed and dated preferably by the householder (Section C) although it is appreciated that this is not always possible. You are able to sign the form yourself provided you write on the form why you had to sign (usually this will relate to the completion of Section B).

4.3Useful notes regarding eligibility
Persons to be included on the register of electors must:

1 / Be resident at the property on the qualifying date (it does not matter if they are away on holiday on this date);
2 / Be 18 years or over before 1st December 2014 (this includes those who reach the age of 18 during the life of the Register);
3 / Be a British, European or Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the IrishRepublic (Eire);

4.4Common queries regarding residence

1 / People can live at more than one address and may register at both addresses eg. students can be included at both their home and university address.
2 / Residential qualification is not lost because of temporary absence from the qualifying address, provided the absence does not exceed 6 months.
3 / Persons undergoing a term of imprisonment are not entitled to register but prisoners on remand should be included.
4 / Second Homes – electors may register at both main residence and second home but are only able to vote once in Parliamentary Elections.

4.5Other issues regarding nationality

1 / A British citizen who marries a Foreign National retains his/her British citizenship but a Foreign National who marries a British citizen does not gain British nationality unless they become naturalised.
2 / A person who is not a Commonwealth citizen, citizen of the Republic of Ireland or European Union cannot be registered as an elector, irrespective of the time they have spent in the UK unless they become naturalised.

4.6If, after the second visit, you have not established contact with the householder then you should put the form, and final reminder letter through the door for the householder’s completion.

4.7Minors under the age of 16 must not be questioned regarding the form. Make enquiries regarding the best time to call back to catch someone in who can help with the form.

4.8Please make sure that you respect people’s property. Do not walk over lawns etc. to get to adjoining properties, please do not leave forms sticking out of letter boxes, do not leave forms in communal areas and always be polite to householders.

4.9 Full and Edited Register

Two versions of the Register are produced at the end of the canvass: the Edited Register and the Full Register.

Edited Register – is available for marketing companies/third parties to purchase and provides the details of those who have not opted out on the canvass form.

Full Register – contains the details of everyone who has registered. This is used by credit reference agencies and other statutory bodies for statutory functions and law enforcement.


Registration forms will be included for any new properties that we are aware have been built and will be occupied by October 2013. However, if you notice any new properties being built which are not listed on your worksheet, please try and make enquiries if there are any builders on site as to what the address is likely to be and letelectoral services know.


6.1Your job as a canvasser requires you to deliver and collect forms from private households which could expose you to potential risk. As an employee of Swindon Borough Council you have a responsibility to ensure that you:

  • do not put yourself at risk;
  • report all incidents to Electoral Services

Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back. Take a mobile phone so you can call someone if you need to.


6.2Any households previously reported as violent or threatening will have been removed from your canvasser area. If you encounter a householder who is unhelpful or unco-operative please do not be confrontational. If you experience any abuse, threats or aggression, leave the situation immediately. Do not put yourself in danger. Report this to Electoral Services and let us have the form back for posting with a note of the problem on the form. We can then remove the property from the canvass round.


7.1At the end of the canvass make sure your worksheet is completed so there is an audit trail in relation to each property. Return your canvass forms, worksheet, mileage forms (mileage will only be paid for travel within the canvass area, home to canvass area mileage should not be included), equipment and ID badges by 14th Januaryat the very latest.

Remember Your Identity Badge must be worn at all times.

Good Luck!

Electoral Services Contacts

Sally Sprason 463999

Rachel Thomas 463494

Zara Macmillan 463543