Why registering to vote is good for your wealth and health

You will almost certainly be registered to vote if you are reading Liberal Democrat Voice, as you are a politically engaged individual. But are all your neighbours, friends and family also on the electoral roll?
Feel free to share this article with them, as adapted for your local Council.
If you are not registered to vote, you could be harming your chances of getting credit when you need it, and even your access to a home-delivered COVID-19 test.
You are not automatically registered to vote, (included on the electoral roll), even if you have lived here for many years. You should register to vote if you are asked to, and it can help you prove your identity online.
The electoral roll is one of the sources used by organisations to check a person’s identity (ID checks). When you apply for a loan or a credit card, the bank or credit card company will check your ID and your credit history.
Where your credit application is submitted online, the electoral roll is the first place that most companies will check. If the bank can’t find your name on the electoral roll, it will look for other ways to confirm your ID, such as the sight of your driving licence or passport.
When you apply for a covid-19 test to be sent to your home, through the government’s website: click HERE you will need to confirm your name and address.
The system will then check your ID with government sources, which includes the electoral roll, before sending out the testing kit. If your name is not on the electoral roll, the system will ask for other ways to check your ID such as; UK passport number, the UK driving licence number, bank account or credit card number.
You can still get a COVID-19 test if you are not on the electoral roll, you need to have other ways to prove your address and ID.
Council is currently conducting what they call the “Annual Canvass” which is a check of everyone who is currently on the electoral roll at each property, asking whether any names are missing.
The Council sends out a paper canvass form or email asking you to confirm the names of people on the electoral roll at your address. If the information is correct, you can respond in one of these ways:
  • Online:[insert local council website ]
  • Call: 0800 197 9871 or
  • Text: 80212
You will need the security codes on the letter.
Where there are new people in your household to add to the electoral roll, each person needs to register individually Click HERE.
If the Council has not received a response to the canvass letter, they will send a canvasser to knock on your door and ask why. These canvass agents all carry Council ID for you to check, and will wear appropriate face masks and gloves. They will keep their distance while talking to you.
To avoid having this awkward conversation on your doorstep, please respond to the Council canvass form. If you have lost the form ask for a replacement by email: [ insert email address]
Registering to vote is good for you and good for democracy.

* I am vice-chair of the Lib Dems in Milton Keynes.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • This is eminently sensible advice.

    It is a good example of how individuals can take action in small ways to make their lives run better, often at zero (as here) or negligible cost.

  • The electoral register, even if you tick the non-public option, is searchable by many nefarious companies and contains your NI no, DOB, full name and address – thanks to the usual hapless Mrs May who told councils to crosscheck individual data via the NI and passport/driving licence databases but the councils then decided to add non-essential data to the voter’s register. as it becomes even more valuable to nefarious companies who pay money to search it. Councils add this data if you are already registered without asking permission.

    Of course if you are rich or merely an MP then you can go on the anonymous register which is not searchable other than by tax, police etc. Joe Public can go on this register but only after getting a court order and explaining why they need to do so,

    Once out of the EU expect councils to tighten up on voter registration, there is a section of councils who are mandated to get people to register and go visit homes where no-one is registered to find out why. As the above is possibly illegal under EU laws (data protection, human rights) they would not come down hard on non-registrants but post brexit will probably start fining people who do not register, which may mean prison if you do not pay.

  • Richard Underhill 21st Oct '20 - 3:58pm

    The USA should have a universal franchise. Imagine living in Washington DC and being
    told that you are not allowed to vote because you are black and where you live is not a state, but a district. The same applies to Puerto Rico, so you might get a vote for the President in 2024 if Biden-Harris win this time.

  • Andrew Tampion 22nd Oct '20 - 7:23am

    I agree with Frank West that we must be vigilant about government, whether local or national, attempts to enforce excessive or unreasonable interpretations of voter registration laws the link to Brexit is wrong.
    Mr West refers to both Human Rights and Data Protection as EU Laws.
    However Human Rights Law derives from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)which was made by and is enforced by the Council of Europe not the EU. The UK is a member of the Council of Europe and is subject to the ECHR. The EU, although mandated vby treaty has never signed up to the ECHR on the grounds that to do so would make EU Law subordinate to the ECHR. In passing it worth observing the EU trying to require the UK to accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ, an EU institution, while refusing to submit itself to an external court, the European Court of Human Rights, which the UK has submitted itself to.
    Turning to Data Protection it is true that current UK data Protection Law derives from the GDPR, an EU Regulation. The vUk Parliament has passed an Act under which the GDPR, like every other EU Directive or Regulation currently in force will continue in force unless and until repealed by a subsequent UK Act. Furthermore while it is true that the GDPR like the 1998 Data Protection Act do derive from EU law the original UK Data Protection Law was the Data Protection Act 1984, made into law by the UK Government on it’s own initiative 11 years before the EU first passed a Data Protection Law. The 1984 Act was based on the Lindop Report of 1978 which in turn derives from the Younger Report on Privacy in 1972. The history of Data Protection Law in the UK therefore pre-dates the EU Data Protection Law by many years. As a side note the reason it took 6 years to implement the Lindop Report was partly because of the 1983 General Election and partly because the UK was waiting for the Council of Europe to publish it’s Data Protection Convention of 1981 which remains in force and regulates international transfer of personal data by members.
    There is no reason to think that if the EU had not legislated on Data Protection that the UK would not have continued to update it’s own Data Protection Laws.
    While it is possible that a future UK Government may legislate to weaken either Humkan Rights or Data Protection Laws there is no reason to think that would automatically follow from Brexit.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Oct '20 - 9:12am

    At the start of the coalition Lib Dem MPs managed to insist that Labour’s national database should be destroyed and a Tory MP had the job of physical destruction. There is a small statue in the National Liberal Club commemorating a man who stood up for his principles and defied authority. If we have a future arrangement with Newer Labour (under new management) we should remember that and again insist on our principles.

  • richard underhil 22nd Oct '20 - 9:26am

    Andrew Tampion 22nd Oct ’20 – 7:23am
    At the 1983 General Election the Labour Party put ALL their poliicies into their manifesto (known as “the longest suicide note in history”) and our then leader (David Steel) announced the number of lost deposits Labour had (over 100)

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Oct '20 - 1:07pm

    Please be cynical about the timing, but the Pentagon has announced arms sales to Taiwan valued at US$1,8 billion (£1.4 billion). Taiwan is a prosperous democracy and presumably able to pay. Their replies to threats from Beijing have been short, negative and to the point. So far this is not another Korean war. We should be realistic.

  • Peter Hirst 22nd Oct '20 - 2:12pm

    Though sensible advice, it would be better to move to Automatic Electoral Registration using databases such as NI number. It is a human right to vote and you should not need to take any action to do so. There are millions off the register and this is a national scandal.

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Oct '20 - 3:34pm

    22nd Oct ’20 – 1:07pm
    Sources BBC tv red button,
    Times obituaries,
    Free lunch all round Liberal International Iceland

  • Richard Underhill 22nd Oct '20 - 4:02pm

    Peter Hirst 22 October 2020
    The BBC recently displayed a map of the USA showing what would have happened
    if non–voters (about one third of all) had voted, enough to elect a President,
    but not this time, most people have decided already.
    Systemic issues, such as votes for women, were decided locally without violence, except as caused by World War One.

  • Mario Caves 22nd Oct '20 - 6:25pm

    Why isn’t it mandatory to be registered on the electoral roll?
    If it is, why isn’t it enforced?

  • Frank West. Have you ever had a copy of the register from a council? It does not contain dates of birth or NI numbers. If you tick the non-public option it is, by definiton, not available to these “nefarious companies”. If you use an internet comparison site, by comparison, all your data is collected and resold, and you consented to it.
    Mario Caves. It is mandatory to register. It is just no longer enforced. Council budget restrictions reduce the physical canvass (voter suppression). Almost all people complied voluntary until the Poll Tax came along, when it became financially advantageous to not register.

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