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The Electoral Commission - Voters reminded to get set for a General Election

The Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog, is reminding potential voters that now’s the time to make sure you are on the electoral register ahead of the forthcoming General Election and English local elections.

Local authorities are currently sending out registration forms to households across the country to make sure the registers are up to date so that everyone who is entitled to vote can do so.

 “More people vote in General Elections than in other UK elections - but you can’t vote if you’re not on the electoral register,” says Electoral Commission Chief Executive, Peter Wardle.

 “Our next General Election must be held by June 2010, so everyone should take a few minutes to complete the registration form when it arrives. Remember: you’re not automatically entitled to vote just because you pay council tax or have voted before. Make sure nothing stops you from having your say on who represents you. “

Voters – especially those voting at a General Election for the first time, can find out more about what’s involved and visit the Commission’s virtual polling station at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

Notes to editors

1. The annual canvass takes place between August and November every year. Local authorities send annual canvass forms to every household with details of those who are on the electoral register. Residents can add themselves to the register, amend the details where they are out of date or confirm that there are no changes.

2. To vote in the UK General Election, voters need to be registered. You can register if you are a British, Irish, qualifying Commonwealth citizen. You can also register if you are an EU citizen resident in the UK as you are eligible to vote in local elections - but not the General Election.

3. Although you cannot vote until you are 18, you can join the electoral register from the age of 16.

4. A General Election can be called at any time (with a minimum of 17 working days between the announcement and polling day) and must take place by 3 June 2010.

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