Up to 22,000 people could miss out on the opportunity to vote in the forthcoming European Elections because they haven’t registered to vote yet, Bedford Borough Council has revealed.
Every year the council is required to refresh the lists of voters eligible to take part in elections in the Borough. Voter registration forms were sent out to all homes in the borough in October and November last year asking residents to register all eligible voters and anyone who will become 18 in 2014.
Residents are asked to add anyone who should be registered and wasn’t on the list and cross out anyone who no longer lives at the address. Where there are no changes to the details on the Voter Registration Forms residents can let the council know on 0800 025 3142 or on the internet at www.bedford.gov.uk/democracy using the unique reference numbers printed on their Voter Registration Form.
While responses have been received from 82% households the council is urging remaining homes to return the forms in order to be included on the electoral roll and take part in forthcoming elections.
The European Parliamentary election is scheduled to take place on May 22 and Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or Citizens of the Republic of Ireland) will be entitled to vote in the election provided they are on the electoral roll.
The council will be contacting homes that have not returned their forms in the next couple of weeks to help avoid residents losing the opportunity to vote in the election. Not only does not registering mean you won’t be able to vote but it could also affect your credit rating.
Also, under the law these forms must be returned each year, whether residents intend to vote or not. Failure to return the form could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
Philip Simpkins, Local Returning Officer, said: “We wrote to all residents in Autumn last year with copies of the Voter Registration Forms and details about how to register online or over the phone for households whose details haven’t changed.
“This is an annual process that needs to be carried out in order to be eligible to vote.
The vast majority of residents have returned their forms, but there remains a sizeable minority who need to get in touch in order to be able to vote.
“Using the internet voters can still choose whether they want to appear on the Full or Edited version of the register, so that they can have control over who is able to see their details.”