Changes to way everyone registers to vote spelled out in letter going to 80,000 South Lakeland households

Changes to way everyone registers to vote spelled out in letter going to 80,000 South Lakeland households

Changes to way everyone registers to vote spelled out in letter going to 80,000 South Lakeland households

First published in News
Last updated

MORE than 80,000 residents have been written to by South Lakeland District Council about changes to the way everyone registers to vote.

The biggest change to the electoral registration system in nearly 100 years is set to come into force across the country.

The new system of registration is called Individual Electoral Registration (IER) and, as the name implies, each person will now be responsible for registering themsel

Letters will be arriving at homes in South Lakeland over this next week explaining whether householders need to do anything to make sure they are registered or whether they will automatically move onto the new register.

Around 92% of people currently registered to vote in South Lakeland, more than 75,500 people, will be automatically transferred to the new register and they will receive a confirmation letter.

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An SLDC spokesman said: “If any resident receives a confirmation letter and it states that ‘Your details will be on the open register’ this means that your details will appear on the version of the register that can be sold to anyone for any purpose.”

People can opt-out of the open register by emailing optout@southlakeland.gov.uk providing a name and registration address and contact telephone number in case something is unclear.@southlakeland.gov.uk>

Everyone’s name and address goes on the ‘full’ version of the electoral register. The full version of the register is only used for elections, preventing and detecting crime and checking applications for loans or credit.

Around 14,000 residents may need to take action to join the new register, even if they were registered in the past.

Debbie Storr, Electoral Registration Officer at SLDC, said: “South Lakeland residents need to look out for their letter so they know whether they have been automatically transferred to the new register or not.

“The letter will tell them what they need to do if they have not been automatically transferred and they should respond straight away to avoid receiving a reminder.”

For more information visit www.gov.uk/yourvotematters

If you do not receive a letter contact SLDC’s Electoral Services Team on 01539 733333 or email: elections@southlakeland.gov.uk.

Comments (18)

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11:42am Tue 19 Aug 14

pe440 says...

BE WARNED. I just received this letter and it is actually very deceptively written - shockingly so for a letter from a government organisation that is supposed to be here at the service of its citizens. The letter says several times in bold that 'You do not need to do anything else' or 'You do not need to take further action'. In fact what is happening is that even if you had previously opted out of the open register, as I have done for many years now, you will now be automatically included in it unless you act now to reconfirm your opt out - but you will only realise that if you read the detail of the letter in full. This letter seems to be deliberately misleading when the most important message - that you need to act now if you want to remain opted out - ought to jump out at the reader.
BE WARNED. I just received this letter and it is actually very deceptively written - shockingly so for a letter from a government organisation that is supposed to be here at the service of its citizens. The letter says several times in bold that 'You do not need to do anything else' or 'You do not need to take further action'. In fact what is happening is that even if you had previously opted out of the open register, as I have done for many years now, you will now be automatically included in it unless you act now to reconfirm your opt out - but you will only realise that if you read the detail of the letter in full. This letter seems to be deliberately misleading when the most important message - that you need to act now if you want to remain opted out - ought to jump out at the reader. pe440
  • Score: 7

12:55pm Tue 19 Aug 14

eamonnguitar says...

It was very kind of the local council to write to us all this week informing us that the way we register to vote “is changing”. However I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing through their rather patronising smoke-screen which assumes us all to be rather feeble minded?
In reality the method by which we register to vote is unchanged. If you are currently shown on the electoral register “you don’t need to do anything else” and your details will remain in place. So what is the change to which they refer? Well, now there is a second register, the “open register”. But this is “not used for elections”. No this register is in fact nothing to do with the electoral roll and is instead merely a means which enables SLDC to sell your private information to third parties such as companies and charities. Personally I am already inundated with junk mail and scam phone calls trying to sell me all manner of goods and services of which I have no need and I shall be requesting that my information is removed forthwith. I suggest others do the same.
What I feel is most outrageous however is the way in which the powers that be have chosen to relay this information to us. Rather than being up-front and honest about their intentions they have chosen to fabricate a scenario whereby we feel that they are making positive changes to benefit us all. There is NO CHANGE to the way we register to vote and we should have been afforded the opportunity to opt out from this backhanded money-making scheme BEFORE our information was made public and not after.
My vote matters? Clearly not as much as my right to privacy.
It was very kind of the local council to write to us all this week informing us that the way we register to vote “is changing”. However I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing through their rather patronising smoke-screen which assumes us all to be rather feeble minded? In reality the method by which we register to vote is unchanged. If you are currently shown on the electoral register “you don’t need to do anything else” and your details will remain in place. So what is the change to which they refer? Well, now there is a second register, the “open register”. But this is “not used for elections”. No this register is in fact nothing to do with the electoral roll and is instead merely a means which enables SLDC to sell your private information to third parties such as companies and charities. Personally I am already inundated with junk mail and scam phone calls trying to sell me all manner of goods and services of which I have no need and I shall be requesting that my information is removed forthwith. I suggest others do the same. What I feel is most outrageous however is the way in which the powers that be have chosen to relay this information to us. Rather than being up-front and honest about their intentions they have chosen to fabricate a scenario whereby we feel that they are making positive changes to benefit us all. There is NO CHANGE to the way we register to vote and we should have been afforded the opportunity to opt out from this backhanded money-making scheme BEFORE our information was made public and not after. My vote matters? Clearly not as much as my right to privacy. eamonnguitar
  • Score: 6

12:56pm Tue 19 Aug 14

johnwalker1000 says...

In the letter for opting out, it says use the details at the top of the page. The e-mail address there is elections@southlakel
and.gov.uk which is different to the one in the article which is optout@southlakeland
.gov.uk so which is correct? Great that your details are sold to other people/companies/org
anisations but SLDC will get the money! If fraud occurs from the selling of details that then must mean SLDC are liable.
In the letter for opting out, it says use the details at the top of the page. The e-mail address there is elections@southlakel and.gov.uk which is different to the one in the article which is optout@southlakeland .gov.uk so which is correct? Great that your details are sold to other people/companies/org anisations but SLDC will get the money! If fraud occurs from the selling of details that then must mean SLDC are liable. johnwalker1000
  • Score: 4

2:05pm Tue 19 Aug 14

SLDCComms says...

To clarify the position. SLDC, like other local authorities, is required by legislation to make information from what has been termed the "open register" available to anyone. All local councils have to charge a proscribed fee for this information.
To clarify the position. SLDC, like other local authorities, is required by legislation to make information from what has been termed the "open register" available to anyone. All local councils have to charge a proscribed fee for this information. SLDCComms
  • Score: -3

2:08pm Tue 19 Aug 14

squirrelnuts says...

Also just received this letter. I routinely opt out of any marketing tick boxes and am horrified that the council have decided to put me on the open register without my knowledge. Apparently I don't need to do anything else! I beg to differ. I'm already inundated with junk mail and phone calls. Apparently some councils have been selling on electoral details for years without the electorate being any the wiser. If we cant trust the council to safeguard our personal information, surely they are breaking the Data Protection Act? Voting information should never be released for commercial purposes and we need to know if anything has been sold, when and to whom and compensation sought if they have already sold us on! There are no dates on this letter so have our details been harvested already or do we have the option to stop it now. The letter implies I am already fair game.
Also just received this letter. I routinely opt out of any marketing tick boxes and am horrified that the council have decided to put me on the open register without my knowledge. Apparently I don't need to do anything else! I beg to differ. I'm already inundated with junk mail and phone calls. Apparently some councils have been selling on electoral details for years without the electorate being any the wiser. If we cant trust the council to safeguard our personal information, surely they are breaking the Data Protection Act? Voting information should never be released for commercial purposes and we need to know if anything has been sold, when and to whom and compensation sought if they have already sold us on! There are no dates on this letter so have our details been harvested already or do we have the option to stop it now. The letter implies I am already fair game. squirrelnuts
  • Score: 3

2:19pm Tue 19 Aug 14

eamonnguitar says...

SLDCComms wrote:
To clarify the position. SLDC, like other local authorities, is required by legislation to make information from what has been termed the "open register" available to anyone. All local councils have to charge a proscribed fee for this information.
Regardless, the clarity with which you have communicated this information is questionable and extremely patronising at best. Your comment misses the point and justifies precisely nothing about this whole affair!
[quote][p][bold]SLDCComms[/bold] wrote: To clarify the position. SLDC, like other local authorities, is required by legislation to make information from what has been termed the "open register" available to anyone. All local councils have to charge a proscribed fee for this information.[/p][/quote]Regardless, the clarity with which you have communicated this information is questionable and extremely patronising at best. Your comment misses the point and justifies precisely nothing about this whole affair! eamonnguitar
  • Score: 4

2:25pm Tue 19 Aug 14

eamonnguitar says...

By the way, I presume you mean "prescribed" as "proscribed" has an altogether yet probably more appropriate meaning.

Proscribe - to denounce or condemn, to forbid especially by law
By the way, I presume you mean "prescribed" as "proscribed" has an altogether yet probably more appropriate meaning. Proscribe - to denounce or condemn, to forbid especially by law eamonnguitar
  • Score: 4

2:45pm Tue 19 Aug 14

SLDCComms says...

The way the information was communicated by all local councils was led by the Electoral Commission on behalf of the Government. All local councils are required by government legislation to make the open register available to anyone and they have to charge a fee for the information on it which is set by legislation. Residents can opt out of the open register and have always been able to do this.
The way the information was communicated by all local councils was led by the Electoral Commission on behalf of the Government. All local councils are required by government legislation to make the open register available to anyone and they have to charge a fee for the information on it which is set by legislation. Residents can opt out of the open register and have always been able to do this. SLDCComms
  • Score: -3

3:10pm Tue 19 Aug 14

pe440 says...

SLDCComms wrote:
To clarify the position. SLDC, like other local authorities, is required by legislation to make information from what has been termed the "open register" available to anyone. All local councils have to charge a proscribed fee for this information.
I agree this SLDC response is again SLDC confusing the issue. Yes the open register has been available for years and the opt out option has been there as a box to tick on the old paper electoral registration forms. What is disingenuous here is not the existence of the open register but that this letter does not make totally and unmistakably clear what it is communicating - namely that if you were previously opted out then things have changed and you DO need to take action if you want to be taken off the open register. Would someone from SLDC care to stop adding more confusion and simply explain why they have written this letter in a way that hides the central issue that THOSE WHO WERE OPTED OUT MUST ACT IF THEY WANT TO STAY OPTED OUT and instead states IN BOLD that you DO NOT need to take any action?
[quote][p][bold]SLDCComms[/bold] wrote: To clarify the position. SLDC, like other local authorities, is required by legislation to make information from what has been termed the "open register" available to anyone. All local councils have to charge a proscribed fee for this information.[/p][/quote]I agree this SLDC response is again SLDC confusing the issue. Yes the open register has been available for years and the opt out option has been there as a box to tick on the old paper electoral registration forms. What is disingenuous here is not the existence of the open register but that this letter does not make totally and unmistakably clear what it is communicating - namely that if you were previously opted out then things have changed and you DO need to take action if you want to be taken off the open register. Would someone from SLDC care to stop adding more confusion and simply explain why they have written this letter in a way that hides the central issue that THOSE WHO WERE OPTED OUT MUST ACT IF THEY WANT TO STAY OPTED OUT and instead states IN BOLD that you DO NOT need to take any action? pe440
  • Score: 4

3:31pm Tue 19 Aug 14

squirrelnuts says...

I always opt out but apparently my details are on the open register as per the letter. Shocking. Do SLDC think that ANYONE would be happy to have their personal details for sale on the open market? Surely the vast majority of people would opt to have their details removed from an open register? In which case why not have an option to opt in? However the letter says twice - you don't need to do anything else... as if it is of little importance! Why do citizens have write to SLDC to protect their own identities?
SLDC please provide dates for when this cynical commercial scheme was instigated so that I can check my own details haven't been released.
I always opt out but apparently my details are on the open register as per the letter. Shocking. Do SLDC think that ANYONE would be happy to have their personal details for sale on the open market? Surely the vast majority of people would opt to have their details removed from an open register? In which case why not have an option to opt in? However the letter says twice - you don't need to do anything else... as if it is of little importance! Why do citizens have write to SLDC to protect their own identities? SLDC please provide dates for when this cynical commercial scheme was instigated so that I can check my own details haven't been released. squirrelnuts
  • Score: 2

3:43pm Tue 19 Aug 14

jimmyjazz says...

I understand the letter was written by the Electoral Commission, not SLDC. They have no choice in the wording.
I understand the letter was written by the Electoral Commission, not SLDC. They have no choice in the wording. jimmyjazz
  • Score: 1

3:58pm Tue 19 Aug 14

magical trevor says...

For crying out loud. It's already been stated that the letter was written by central gov, and that all local authorities have had to do this, so stop all the selective reading and accept what you've been told....there's no conspiracy here!! Sorry to disappoint.

It's really very simple....if you don't want to appear on the open register OPT OUT.....what is so very difficult for you moaners and council-bashers to understand. You really do seem to be looking for some reason to complain.

eamonnguitar - thank you for sharing your plans to opt out....your inane bleatings echo most of what all the other pointless comments on here state.
For crying out loud. It's already been stated that the letter was written by central gov, and that all local authorities have had to do this, so stop all the selective reading and accept what you've been told....there's no conspiracy here!! Sorry to disappoint. It's really very simple....if you don't want to appear on the open register OPT OUT.....what is so very difficult for you moaners and council-bashers to understand. You really do seem to be looking for some reason to complain. eamonnguitar - thank you for sharing your plans to opt out....your inane bleatings echo most of what all the other pointless comments on here state. magical trevor
  • Score: -2

4:17pm Tue 19 Aug 14

pe440 says...

magical trevor wrote:
For crying out loud. It's already been stated that the letter was written by central gov, and that all local authorities have had to do this, so stop all the selective reading and accept what you've been told....there's no conspiracy here!! Sorry to disappoint.

It's really very simple....if you don't want to appear on the open register OPT OUT.....what is so very difficult for you moaners and council-bashers to understand. You really do seem to be looking for some reason to complain.

eamonnguitar - thank you for sharing your plans to opt out....your inane bleatings echo most of what all the other pointless comments on here state.
OK so SLDC is just the messenger, caught between the voter and the Electoral Commission's message. Doesn't that make this worse because it indicates that this is a national rather than local issue.

No need to criticise the messenger then. Let's sympathise with them for being put in a difficult position (and hope that they had the wit to spot that and tried to get the letter changed even if they failed in that, rather than just blindly relayed it on to the voters).

But my main criticisms above are about how the the message encourages the reader to overlook the central issue in the letter. I prefer to call that disingenuous and deceptive, or an obfuscation if one prefers, rather than a conspiracy.

And yes the central issue is simple - so simple in fact that it beggars belief that we have to read the small print to find out that we need to opt out. That is precisely why the letter is an obfuscation and we should expect better than that from state institutions - whether they be local councils or national bodies.
[quote][p][bold]magical trevor[/bold] wrote: For crying out loud. It's already been stated that the letter was written by central gov, and that all local authorities have had to do this, so stop all the selective reading and accept what you've been told....there's no conspiracy here!! Sorry to disappoint. It's really very simple....if you don't want to appear on the open register OPT OUT.....what is so very difficult for you moaners and council-bashers to understand. You really do seem to be looking for some reason to complain. eamonnguitar - thank you for sharing your plans to opt out....your inane bleatings echo most of what all the other pointless comments on here state.[/p][/quote]OK so SLDC is just the messenger, caught between the voter and the Electoral Commission's message. Doesn't that make this worse because it indicates that this is a national rather than local issue. No need to criticise the messenger then. Let's sympathise with them for being put in a difficult position (and hope that they had the wit to spot that and tried to get the letter changed even if they failed in that, rather than just blindly relayed it on to the voters). But my main criticisms above are about how the the message encourages the reader to overlook the central issue in the letter. I prefer to call that disingenuous and deceptive, or an obfuscation if one prefers, rather than a conspiracy. And yes the central issue is simple - so simple in fact that it beggars belief that we have to read the small print to find out that we need to opt out. That is precisely why the letter is an obfuscation and we should expect better than that from state institutions - whether they be local councils or national bodies. pe440
  • Score: 3

4:33pm Tue 19 Aug 14

eamonnguitar says...

magical trevor wrote:
For crying out loud. It's already been stated that the letter was written by central gov, and that all local authorities have had to do this, so stop all the selective reading and accept what you've been told....there's no conspiracy here!! Sorry to disappoint.

It's really very simple....if you don't want to appear on the open register OPT OUT.....what is so very difficult for you moaners and council-bashers to understand. You really do seem to be looking for some reason to complain.

eamonnguitar - thank you for sharing your plans to opt out....your inane bleatings echo most of what all the other pointless comments on here state.
I rarely seek a reason to complain Mr Trevor, that would be foolish but I'm sure foolishness is a feeling with which you are probably well accustomed.
I'm sorry you find my bleatings inane Mr Trevor and that you are also unaware of the definition of the word "echo" hence your inappropriate use of the term.
The fact remains Mr T (may I call you Mr T?) that the letter is selective in its content and simply serves to proliferate feelings of mistrust in government whether central or otherwise.
By the way, I loved you in those "Snickers" ads, are you doing anymore? And whatever happened to "The Face"?
[quote][p][bold]magical trevor[/bold] wrote: For crying out loud. It's already been stated that the letter was written by central gov, and that all local authorities have had to do this, so stop all the selective reading and accept what you've been told....there's no conspiracy here!! Sorry to disappoint. It's really very simple....if you don't want to appear on the open register OPT OUT.....what is so very difficult for you moaners and council-bashers to understand. You really do seem to be looking for some reason to complain. eamonnguitar - thank you for sharing your plans to opt out....your inane bleatings echo most of what all the other pointless comments on here state.[/p][/quote]I rarely seek a reason to complain Mr Trevor, that would be foolish but I'm sure foolishness is a feeling with which you are probably well accustomed. I'm sorry you find my bleatings inane Mr Trevor and that you are also unaware of the definition of the word "echo" hence your inappropriate use of the term. The fact remains Mr T (may I call you Mr T?) that the letter is selective in its content and simply serves to proliferate feelings of mistrust in government whether central or otherwise. By the way, I loved you in those "Snickers" ads, are you doing anymore? And whatever happened to "The Face"? eamonnguitar
  • Score: 4

5:00pm Tue 19 Aug 14

squirrelnuts says...

Despite OPTING OUT and being ex directory, it appears that my details have already found their way onto 192.com anyway quoting source Electoral Register 20012-14. Clearly I have been sold down the river and I wonder how many others have. This will explain the ridiculous amount of junk and nuisance calls I've had recently.
Despite OPTING OUT and being ex directory, it appears that my details have already found their way onto 192.com anyway quoting source Electoral Register 20012-14. Clearly I have been sold down the river and I wonder how many others have. This will explain the ridiculous amount of junk and nuisance calls I've had recently. squirrelnuts
  • Score: 5

8:35pm Tue 19 Aug 14

eamonnguitar says...

squirrelnuts wrote:
Despite OPTING OUT and being ex directory, it appears that my details have already found their way onto 192.com anyway quoting source Electoral Register 20012-14. Clearly I have been sold down the river and I wonder how many others have. This will explain the ridiculous amount of junk and nuisance calls I've had recently.
Hi, there is a form available on 192.com which will allow you to request your information be removed.
Not the point I realise but a little comfort I suppose.
I too have just found my info' on there stating ER 2014 as the source. Not happy.
[quote][p][bold]squirrelnuts[/bold] wrote: Despite OPTING OUT and being ex directory, it appears that my details have already found their way onto 192.com anyway quoting source Electoral Register 20012-14. Clearly I have been sold down the river and I wonder how many others have. This will explain the ridiculous amount of junk and nuisance calls I've had recently.[/p][/quote]Hi, there is a form available on 192.com which will allow you to request your information be removed. Not the point I realise but a little comfort I suppose. I too have just found my info' on there stating ER 2014 as the source. Not happy. eamonnguitar
  • Score: 2

11:42pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Lakeuk says...

Not the best put together letter, reading through the one I received in the 'open register' paragraph it has these sentences:-

"Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote"

But then the next sentence says:-

"Your details will not be on the open register. To be added to the open register please contact us using the details at the top of the letter."

If their records are correct then I shouldn't be on the open register but this letter is a contradiction of confusion !!
Not the best put together letter, reading through the one I received in the 'open register' paragraph it has these sentences:- "Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote" But then the next sentence says:- "Your details will not be on the open register. To be added to the open register please contact us using the details at the top of the letter." If their records are correct then I shouldn't be on the open register but this letter is a contradiction of confusion !! Lakeuk
  • Score: 2

10:11am Wed 20 Aug 14

pe440 says...

Lakeuk wrote:
Not the best put together letter, reading through the one I received in the 'open register' paragraph it has these sentences:-

"Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote"

But then the next sentence says:-

"Your details will not be on the open register. To be added to the open register please contact us using the details at the top of the letter."

If their records are correct then I shouldn't be on the open register but this letter is a contradiction of confusion !!
Interesting. I have been opted out for years. My version of the letter seems identical to yours except it says "Your details will be on the open register. To be removed ..." I agree not at all well worded but I also wonder how they decided who would or would not be automatically included on the open register because in my case their records should have shown that I have never been included.
[quote][p][bold]Lakeuk[/bold] wrote: Not the best put together letter, reading through the one I received in the 'open register' paragraph it has these sentences:- "Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote" But then the next sentence says:- "Your details will not be on the open register. To be added to the open register please contact us using the details at the top of the letter." If their records are correct then I shouldn't be on the open register but this letter is a contradiction of confusion !![/p][/quote]Interesting. I have been opted out for years. My version of the letter seems identical to yours except it says "Your details will be on the open register. To be removed ..." I agree not at all well worded but I also wonder how they decided who would or would not be automatically included on the open register because in my case their records should have shown that I have never been included. pe440
  • Score: 0
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