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  • FIRST POST
    • PlumbingTheDepths
    • By PlumbingTheDepths 30th Nov 17, 9:39 PM
    • 17Posts
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    PlumbingTheDepths
    Electoral register - can't opt out of open register
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 9:39 PM
    Electoral register - can't opt out of open register 30th Nov 17 at 9:39 PM
    Hi,
    I wasn't sure where this should go, but a quick google seems to show most threads about the electoral register appear here, so I hope it is OK.

    For many years I have diligently opted out of the edit/open register everytime I've had to fill in a voter registration form.

    However, I have just moved to a new house in a new council area, and have received a Household Enquiry Form. Neither the form, nor the online service (HouseholdResponse.com) provides the ability to opt-out of the open register.

    Instead the form says:

    "If you want to change 'included on the open register' status please contact your local electoral registration officer." (I've tried the phone number but only get an answerphone)

    It seems that you are expected to submit your information (I understand the deadline is the end of the month), risk being put on the open register and then hope you can get the status changed before it is published (or end up on a marketing database for life).

    I just wondered if anybody else had run into this issue, and whether you have had any luck dealing with it.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated
Page 1
    • nic_c
    • By nic_c 1st Dec 17, 9:09 AM
    • 1,123 Posts
    • 640 Thanks
    nic_c
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:09 AM
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:09 AM
    Can you not write in, and include it with the form?
    • elsien
    • By elsien 1st Dec 17, 9:13 AM
    • 15,415 Posts
    • 38,702 Thanks
    elsien
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:13 AM
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:13 AM
    Contact your local councillor?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 1st Dec 17, 9:15 AM
    • 3,131 Posts
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    Nick_C
    • #4
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:15 AM
    • #4
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:15 AM
    The household enquiry form is meant to be an annual check that the register is correct and there haven't been any changes.

    You are meant to register individually on line. If you do this, you should be given the option to opt out of the public form. You must also complete the HEF though.
    • tenchy
    • By tenchy 1st Dec 17, 9:59 AM
    • 164 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    tenchy
    • #5
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:59 AM
    • #5
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:59 AM
    No individual has any obligation whatsoever to fill in the HEF, despite the threats of fines included in the document. Your best bet under the circumstances you describe is to put the HEF in the bin. This will result in a canvasser turning up on your doorstep - in the fullness of time - at which point you explain the issues to him and require him to deal with it.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 1st Dec 17, 11:41 AM
    • 1,740 Posts
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    Tarambor
    • #6
    • 1st Dec 17, 11:41 AM
    • #6
    • 1st Dec 17, 11:41 AM
    No individual has any obligation whatsoever to fill in the HEF, despite the threats of fines included in the document.
    Originally posted by tenchy
    I cannot find anything anywhere which supports this claim. It is a criminal offence under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 not to respond to one.
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 1st Dec 17, 12:35 PM
    • 3,131 Posts
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    Nick_C
    • #7
    • 1st Dec 17, 12:35 PM
    • #7
    • 1st Dec 17, 12:35 PM
    To quote from the Electoral Commission guidance;

    "Penalty for failure to respond to a HEF or providing false information

    By law a person who has received a HEF must provide the information
    that it requires to the ERO, but there is no requirement for the form itself to be
    returned.

    This includes where there are changes to the information pre-printed
    on the HEF or new information is being provided.

    There is a criminal penalty of a fine up to a maximum of £1,000 for failing
    to provide the information required by the HEF to the ERO.

    The penalty for providing false information to an ERO is up to six months
    imprisonment, an unlimited fine in England and Wales or a fine of up to £5,000 in
    Scotland."
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 1st Dec 17, 12:39 PM
    • 3,131 Posts
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    Nick_C
    • #8
    • 1st Dec 17, 12:39 PM
    • #8
    • 1st Dec 17, 12:39 PM
    Your best bet under the circumstances you describe is to put the HEF in the bin. This will result in a canvasser turning up on your doorstep - in the fullness of time - at which point you explain the issues to him and require him to deal with it.
    Originally posted by tenchy
    No. Their best bet is to go on line and register, and fill in and return the HEF.

    Unless OP shares your perverse interest in wasting taxpayers' money.
    • tenchy
    • By tenchy 1st Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    • 164 Posts
    • 30 Thanks
    tenchy
    • #9
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    • #9
    • 1st Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    To quote from the Electoral Commission guidance;

    "Penalty for failure to respond to a HEF or providing false information

    By law a person who has received a HEF must provide the information
    that it requires to the ERO, but there is no requirement for the form itself to be
    returned.

    This includes where there are changes to the information pre-printed
    on the HEF or new information is being provided.

    There is a criminal penalty of a fine up to a maximum of £1,000 for failing
    to provide the information required by the HEF to the ERO.

    The penalty for providing false information to an ERO is up to six months
    imprisonment, an unlimited fine in England and Wales or a fine of up to £5,000 in
    Scotland."
    Originally posted by Nick_C

    But they speak garbage! To whom is the form addressed? "The Occupier". They are not addressed to named individuals, so how can any individual be held liable? I challenged the Electoral Commission about this and they simply said "It's up to the local council, but we hope all households will respond". In other words, they don't know - no surprise there.


    The OP seems not to be able to opt out online. Given that accidentally being placed on the open register is something that should be avoided at all costs, it makes sense for him to speak to the canvasser about it.
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 1st Dec 17, 1:44 PM
    • 3,131 Posts
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    Nick_C
    The OP seems not to be able to opt out online. Given that accidentally being placed on the open register is something that should be avoided at all costs, it makes sense for him to speak to the canvasser about it.
    Originally posted by tenchy
    You are wrong.

    It sounds as if OP has not tried to register on line. He has tried to fill in the HEF on line. That is not that same as registering to vote.

    To quote from https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote


    Use this service to apply to register to vote or to:
    • update your name, address or other details on the electoral register
    • change your voting preferences, for example to vote in person or by post
    • change whether you’re on the open register
    It usually takes about 5 minutes.
    Last edited by Nick_C; 01-12-2017 at 1:46 PM.
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 1st Dec 17, 1:52 PM
    • 3,131 Posts
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    Nick_C
    I challenged the Electoral Commission about this...
    Originally posted by tenchy
    Which confirms that you really do get some sort of perverse pleasure from wasting taxpayers' money.
    • PlumbingTheDepths
    • By PlumbingTheDepths 2nd Dec 17, 1:25 PM
    • 17 Posts
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    PlumbingTheDepths
    It sounds as if OP has not tried to register on line. He has tried to fill in the HEF on line. That is not that same as registering to vote.
    Originally posted by Nick_C
    You're correct, that I have tried to fill in the HEF online and have not tried to register to vote yet.

    However, the HEF says:

    "Once you have responded to this form, each person at this address who is eligible to vote should apply at gov.uk/register-to-vote"
    That suggests that I need to fill the form in first, and I want to be sure that the information on the HEF form is not put on the open register, before my voter registration is processed.

    Will the HEF information be put on the register, or just used to send out a voter registration form?

    The HEF form suggest the former. In the declaration it says:

    "I understand that the information I have given on this form will be used on the electoral register"
    There is nowhere on the HEF form to opt out (just room for Full name, nationality, telephone and email).
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 2nd Dec 17, 5:39 PM
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    Nick_C
    The HEF is just used to identify changes in the register. Where the ERO becomes aware of a new potentially eligible voted on the basis of the HEF, they contact that person and invite them to register to vote.

    The ERO cannot add someone to the Register based solely on the HEF.

    But registration is no longer an annual event. You should register at a new property as soon as you move. And each household member has to register individually.

    Register on line, then complete the HEF.
    • Mee
    • By Mee 2nd Dec 17, 5:54 PM
    • 1,031 Posts
    • 1,007 Thanks
    Mee
    Most local authorities have procedure for opting out of the open register, and this should be clear from their website.
    Full advice on your rights can be found via the ICO website.
    • Nick_C
    • By Nick_C 2nd Dec 17, 6:29 PM
    • 3,131 Posts
    • 4,162 Thanks
    Nick_C
    Most ALL local authorities have procedure for opting out of the open register
    ... and the easiest way to do this is by following the link to the government website that I provided above.

    https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
    • PlumbingTheDepths
    • By PlumbingTheDepths 2nd Dec 17, 6:57 PM
    • 17 Posts
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    PlumbingTheDepths
    The ERO cannot add someone to the Register based solely on the HEF.
    Originally posted by Nick_C
    If true that's great, but it is at odds with the quote from the HEF form.

    "I understand that the information I have given on this form will be used on the electoral register"

    That's pretty clear that the information from the form will be used on the register, not that it will be used to invite you to submit your registration, and the info from your registration will then be used on the register.


    For now, I have registered to vote, but have not completed the HEF.
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