We are heading for an election. Are you registered to vote? Do you want a postal vote? Here are the details

It’s been decided. The general election will be on 12 December. That’s quite short notice so it’s worth checking that you are registered to vote at your current address as soon as you can. You should complete the Household Enquiry Form every year to ensure you keep your vote. You’ll be okay if you responded to the form that came by post a few weeks back and probably still okay if you didn’t.

You may wish to register for a postal vote. This is a winter vote and there is no predicting what the weather will be like. You might also be sunning yourself on a beach somewhere. In which case, I will be envious. Whatever your situation, you might think a postal vote more convenient for this election.

This article explains the registration and voting procedures, including electoral arrangements for students and people who have no fixed address.

Voter registration arrangements changed in 2015. You must now reply to the annual canvass (Household Enquiry Form) every year to retain your vote, although you will get reminders if you have failed to do so. Removal from the register is a last resort if someone hasn’t responded to the canvass and reminders.

No one else can register for you but they can help you fill out the forms. The deadline to register for this election is middnight 26 November.

The easiest way to register is online. You will need your National Insurance number. You can also change your address or other details online using the same link. If you prefer paper, you can register by filling out this form and sending to: Electoral Services, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6ND.

You will be given a choice of appearing on the open register or keeping your name and address confidential in the closed register. Councils sell the open register to marketing companies who will use it to target junk mail. The closed register is available only to election officials, candidates, elected MPs and local authority councillors, and political parties.

If you are a student you can register to vote at both your home and term-time addresses, but it is illegal to vote more than once. You can apply for a postal vote if you will be at home on 12 December but want to vote at your term time address.

If you are an EU citizen, you cannot vote in a general election.

You can register to vote if you have no fixed address, for example if you are homeless or sofa surfing. Use this form if those are your circumstances.

If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or eligible, or encounter problems, you should contact the electoral registration office at Shirehall: elections@shropshire.gov.uk 0345 678 9015.

More information on voting is available online from the Electoral Commission.

Postal and proxy votes

You might want a postal vote, especially as this is a winter election with fewer than eight hours of daylight on 12 December. You can apply for a postal vote using this form and sending it to: Electoral Services, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6ND. Applications for postal votes must arrive at Shirehall by 26 November.

No one else can complete a postal vote for you. But if you have difficulties in writing or signing your signature, contact Election Services for advice.

The latest date for posting your postal vote to Shirehall will be announced shortly. Alternatively, you can also hand your postal vote into any polling station in the constituency in which you are registered to vote on 12 December. For example, if you are registered to vote in Ludlow you can hand in your postal vote at a Bridgnorth polling station but you cannot hand in the vote at a Shrewsbury polling station.

You can also get someone to vote on your behalf – a proxy vote. More details on proxy votes.

If you encounter problems, contact Shropshire Council’s Election Services on 0345 678 9015.

The House of Commons Library has published the full election timetable.

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