Annual canvass reform proposals: consultation paper

This policy statement sets out the revised model for the annual canvass which has been drawn up by the UK, Scottish and Welsh Government, and seeks views from all interested parties.

Section 8 - Treatment of ‘pending’ and ‘potential’ electors

Some citizens are ‘known’ to the ERO prior to them becoming an elector on the electoral register. This could be for example a pending elector, who the ERO has identified through data mining and is currently working through the ITR chasing cycle, but as yet has not made an individual application to register. We have considered how such individuals should be handled in the revised canvass model and propose that they should be included in the reformed canvass process. In considering this we have taken into account the primary purpose of the canvass: to understand the composition of the household at the property, who is living there who should be on the register, and who is on the register but no longer living there.

As pending and potential electors are citizens who the ERO has knowledge of at a given property, there is an argument that they should be included in the data match, i.e. they would receive a green match at the individual level despite not yet being on the register, and they would appear on any subsequent communication sent to the property. A property should not be sent down Route 2, just because there are known pending electors at the address. This is arguably not targeting canvass resources in the most the effective way. If the ERO has the correct information on who lives in the property - whether they are registered or a potential or pending elector - then the ERO should not have to expend valuable resources on confirming this. Instead, in the example where the ERO has potential and pending electors, they should be able to focus their resource on the registration rather than the canvass process.

Obviously any communications (the Route 1 communication and the HEF communications Route 2) that they were included on, would need to be carefully designed to ensure clear messaging that the potential or pending electors were not currently registered to vote.

We invite responses to the following question relating specifically to the proposed process detailed in Section 8: Treatment of pending and potential electors.

Question 15

Do you agree with the proposal that pending/potential electors should be included in the data matching and canvass communication? YES/NO

If No, please explain why.

If Yes, do you think there are any risks in doing so? YES/NO

Please explain what these are.


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