Notification of Cyber Attack on the Electoral Commission, 8 August 2023

Havant Borough Council were today notified, along with other authorities, of a cyber attack on the Electoral Commission, which took place from August 2021 to October 2022. Details can be found in an Electoral Commission press release here.

In addition, the Commission have supplied an FAQ document, to assist with any questions you may have:

Information about the cyber-attack | Electoral Commission

Members of the public and electors can also contact the Commission directly by using this webform and selecting the title ‘Cyber-attack’ to get in touch.

In their response, published nationally, the Electoral Commission have offered re-assurances that they have taken steps to secure their systems against future attacks and improved their protections around personal data. This follows close work with external security experts and the National Cyber Security Centre.


Please be aware of changes to voting from May 2023 and the need to provide photo identification to vote at a polling station - more details can be found here.

The Electoral Services team organises all elections held across the borough.

These include:

  • Borough elections – these take place every year in each ward. 
  • County Council elections are scheduled elections and take place every 4 years.  
  • Police and Crime Commissioners elections are scheduled to take place every 4 years. More information can be found here.
  • UK Parliament (General) elections - In a UK Parliament (general) election you're voting for somebody to represent you in Parliament, as a Member of Parliament (MP), in a parliamentary constituency. To find out who your MP is visit FindYourMP.
  • Referendums - In a referendum you're voting on a single question such as the EU Referendum in 2016.
  • By-elections – this is just like a local election but is only held in a single political constituency or ward to fill a vacancy arising during the term of office.

The Annual Canvass - FAQs

What is the annual canvass?

Each year the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) has a legal requirement to carry out an annual canvass to ensure the electoral register is accurate and complete.

How does the canvass work?

Data matching - Electoral register data is sent securely to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) database to be matched. Electors' names and addresses will be matched against National Insurance details and the information held by the DWP. In addition, the ERO has the discretion to use local data, for example, council tax records, to perform a matching exercise.

Do I need to respond to the Annual Canvass?

The data matching exercise will decide which route a property goes into for the canvass. If we match all electors registered in a property with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), we will send you a Canvass Communication A letter (CCA).

If you receive this letter, you will only need to respond if your household information has changed.

If we have not matched each elector registered at your property, you will receive a Canvass Communication B letter (CCB). You will need to respond even if the information in the letter is still correct. Therefore, you will report no change, or you will be letting us know of any changes that have occurred within your household.

How can I respond to the canvass?

As in previous years, we are trying to promote automated methods of response: Online:

You will need to include the unique two-part security code included on the form.

Phone: call 0800 197 9871, and when prompted, enter part 1 and part 2 of the security code.

Text: NOCHANGE followed by security codes to 80212.

If nobody in the property is eligible to register to vote, a reason should be included after the security codes, e.g. empty, business, second home. There is a standard rate charge using text.

By post: Use the pre-paid envelope provided.

Is the data I enter online secure?

Yes. The online registration service and the data you provide is secure. It has been independently accredited, tested for security and developed to meet best practice guidelines for data security.

Why is the letter addressed to Dear Resident?

We address all canvass property communications to Dear Resident as someone else may have moved into the property since our last communication.

When I add a name to the form does this mean they are registered?

No. The form provides us with information about new residents, but each person must then visit to complete their registration. Alternatively, we will send each person an Invitation to Register (ITR) form.

I am already registered. Will I still get an annual canvass communication?

Yes. Each year, we will contact every household to find out if there have been any changes to anyone living at your address. If there are changes, you must provide the information requested. The purpose of the canvass communication is to confirm who lives at your address. We can then invite other residents, including 16- and 17-year-olds, who can register and vote when they become 18 years of age.

What happens after I complete the canvass communication?

If all information is correct – there is nothing further to do. However, if you added any new names at the property, we will send out Invitation to Register forms. If names are crossed out, it will enable us to remove anyone who no longer lives at the property.

What is the Invitation to Register form?

Once a Canvass response has been completed, and a new eligible people added to a property, we will send an Invitation to Register form by post. Alternatively, you can visit

You will need to include the following:

· National Insurance number

· date of birth

· previous address in the last 12 months,

· postal voting preferences

· whether you wish to appear on the open register

You will not be registered to vote without completing this information.

Who is eligible to register to vote?

You can register to vote if you are:

· 16 years old or over and a British citizen or an Irish

· qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen who is resident in the UK (except for service voters or overseas voters)

17-year olds and some 16-year olds are entitled to be included on the register as attainers. They can vote when they are 18.

Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and have leave to enter or remain in the UK. The definition of a Commonwealth citizen includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or citizens of the Republic of Ireland).

I’m listed on the form, but my name has changed

If your name has changed, you can scan and email a copy of your change of name document, deed poll or marriage certificate to:

Why has a canvasser knocked on my door – how do I know they work for you?

If we haven't received a response from you by September, we employ canvassers to go door knocking to follow up a response. It is their job check any outstanding information, please provide them with the information they request.

Personal canvassers work for the council and are fully trained to help you complete the canvass form. They will have an ID badge to confirm that they are authorised to work for us. You can ask to see their badge at any time.

You can also phone us on 023 9244 6225 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) and we will confirm their name.

I’m a foreign national, refugee, asylum seeker, can I register?

You can only be added to the register if you are a British, Irish, Commonwealth or an EU Citizen. Having leave to remain does not qualify you to be added to the Electoral Register unless you also qualify by your nationality.

This is my second home – can I register here as well?

In some cases, if you live at more than one address, you may be eligible to register at both, please contact us on 023 9244 6225 to discuss this further. I am a student – where can I register?

Students can register at both their term time university address and their home address, but it is your choice

Do I need to register, and what happens if I don't?

If we have invited you to register to vote by post, you must respond. If you don't, we will send you reminders, and someone could visit your home.

At the end of this process, we may send you a requirement to register; if you fail to do so without providing an adequate reason, you may be fined £80. Not being registered can also impact applications for mortgages or mobile phones since credit reference agencies use the electoral register to validate applications.

I don’t vote – can I ignore the form?

No. The law requires eligible residents to register when requested. There are benefits of being on the register that are unconnected with elections. Credit reference agencies are entitled to receive the electoral register. They use the information as verification of an individual’s address. If you are not registered it can have an impact on your credit score. If someone is not on the electoral register it may affect their ability to:

get credit (loans, mobile phone contracts etc);

get a mortgage;

access other financial services

Why do you need to know if I am over 76?

If you are over 76, please indicate this on your form or when you register online. Following a recent change in the law, you can serve on a jury up to the age of 75. Anyone over 75 is no longer eligible to perform Jury service and we must supply this information to the Jury Summoning Service.

Empty properties/Landlord or business premises

You still need to respond. If no one is listed on the form, please call free on 0800 197 9871 or online at (you will need the security codes from your form) to confirm the property is still empty.

If someone’s details are on the form, but the property is now empty – you can either: Visit (you will need the security code from your form) or

Tick the property is empty box (in the “no one at address is eligible” section), sign the form and return it in the envelope provided.

No-one Eligible to vote?

If nobody in your household is eligible to register to vote due to nationality, you still need to notify us by responding to your canvass form. You can do this online

If the canvass communication you have received is already blank, you can also either:

phone: 0800 197 9871 to record a “no change” response using the automated phone line

text service – text ‘NOCHANGE’ followed by your two-part security code to 80212.

If you are unable to use one of the automated services, please amend the paper form and return it in the pre-paid envelope provided.

The address shown on my form has changed or is incorrect

Please advise us of any property changes, which we will pass on to our street naming and numbering team to investigate.

Will my details be shared with other organisations?

Using information received from the public, we keep two registers:

· Electoral Register

· Open register

Electoral Register

The electoral register contains the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. We use this register for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service and checking credit applications.

Open Register

The open register is an extract of the electoral register and is not used for elections. Any person, company or organisation can buy it. For example, by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.

Your name and address will be included on the open register unless you ask for it to be removed or state this when you register to vote. Removing your details from the open register does not affect your right to vote.

In addition, the electoral registration officer will process your personal information under current data protection legislation.

We provide yearly and monthly updates to the main credit reference agencies. If you have an issue, we can provide a certificate of residency free of charge. We can email this certificate to you to confirm your current electoral registration, which you can then pass to your credit reference agency.

Further questions? – Contact us

If you have any questions about the canvass, please email us at

If you haven't already registered, or have recently moved house, visit the 'register to vote' website here.


To vote in a general or local government election you must:

  • Be registered to vote
    Be 18 or over on the day of the election
    Be a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen
    Be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in (local election only)
    Not be legally excluded from voting

EU citizens
EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote or stand for election. Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights;

EU citizens with retained rights, who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (before the UK left the EU).
Under the proposed changes, EU citizens who were living in the UK before the end of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Period (up until 1 January 2021) would keep their right to vote and stand in elections.

EU citizens who have arrived in the UK since 1 January 2021 would have these rights, where the UK Government has negotiated reciprocal agreements with EU Members States to allow its citizens living in the UK to vote, in return for the same right for UK citizens living in that country.
So far these agreements have been made with:

  • Spain

The changes will not affect citizens of the Republic of Ireland or citizens of Commonwealth nations.

These change will apply to all local elections and referendums in England, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections and are expected to take place by spring 2024.

Dual nationality residents - would use highest level nationality to register.

Overseas voter
UK citizens living abroad can apply to be an overseas voter. You must have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years and be eligible to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections and European Parliamentary elections.

If you were too young to register when you left the UK, you can still register as an overseas voter. You can do this if your parent or guardian was registered to vote in the UK, as long as you left the UK no more than 15 years ago.

Voting as a student

If you are voting as a student, you may be able to register to both your home and university addresses.

It is a criminal offence to vote twice in a UK general election.

Even if you are registered in two areas, at home and at university, you can only vote once at a general election.

However, if your home and university addresses are in two different local authority areas, you can vote in local elections in both.


Once registered there are many ways you can vote. These include in person at a polling station, by post or by proxy.

Vote in person at a polling station

Most people vote in person at a polling station. You can find out where your nearest polling station is by checking the information printed on your poll card.

Polling stations are open from 7am and close at 10pm. When you go to the polling station you will need to give your name and address to the relevant staff member who will check you are registered to vote.

You do not need your poll card to vote at a polling station.

Please ensure you don’t take any photos inside the polling station as you might find yourself in breach of secrecy of the ballot requirements.

Postal vote

If you are registered to vote but unable to vote in person on the day of the election (eg if you’re away from home or you’re abroad), you can apply for a postal vote.

You can apply for a postal vote or cancel your postal vote up to 11 working days before the election. Postal votes can be done on a temporary or permanent basis.

If you live abroad and are registered, you can apply for a postal vote but you need to make sure you have time to receive and return your ballot papers on polling day.

Apply for a postal vote

Please download the postal vote form from the Electoral Commission website. Once complete, you can send it to us by email or by post.

Electoral Services, Havant Borough Council, Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX.

Proxy vote

If you’re unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.

You can apply for a proxy vote if:

  • You are unable to go to the polling station for one particular election, for example, if you are away on holiday
  • You have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • Your employment means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • Your attendance on an educational course means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • You are a British citizen living overseas
  • You are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces

There are different forms depending on the reason that you need a proxy vote. If you live abroad and are registered, you can also apply for a proxy vote.

Apply for a proxy vote

Please download the proxy vote form from the Electoral Commission website. Once complete, you can send it to us by email or by post.

Electoral Services, Havant Borough Council, Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant, PO9 2AX.

This year, to be able to vote in person at a polling station you will be required to show an official form of photographic identification (ID).

Elections Act 2022 - What you need to know

The UK Government has implemented significant changes to the current electoral system. The Elections Act 2022 outlines several measures which will affect the way that you vote and how we conduct elections.

One of the biggest changes will be the requirement for individuals to show photographic identification (such as a passport or driving licence) when they vote at a polling station.  

The sections below provide a summary of what we know so far. Further information is due to be published throughout 2023 and this page will be updated when we know more. The first changes will come into force for the borough elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.

You can find out more about the Elections Act 2022 by visiting the UK Government website


Upcoming changes

From May 2023 you will be required to show an official form of photographic identification (ID) when you vote in person at a polling station, a list of acceptable ID documents is included below.

If you own an accepted form of photographic ID but it has expired it can still be used, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

If you do not have any of the accepted forms of ID you will be able to apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate – this is a photographic identity document specifically for the purpose of voting. Please use the following link:

If you need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, make sure you do so in good time ahead of it being required at the polling station.

You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate at any point, even before an election has been called but the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for elections held on Thursday 4 May 2023 is Tuesday 25 April 2023.


Acceptable forms of ID will include:

  • A passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration document
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • An Oyster 60+ Card
  • A Freedom Pass


Accessibility at Polling Stations

The new law will make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote. The changes will be in place for the May 2023 elections. Voters with disabilities will be given extra support at polling stations and proposals will allow anyone over the age of 18 to act as a companion for a voter with a disability.

Advice on how you can vote, including the new requirement to show photo identification.

To vote in the local elections, you need to be registered. You can register online at or by coming into the Plaza to use one of the public computers.

For the first time in May 2023, voters will be required to show photo ID when voting at a polling station. This new requirement will apply for the local elections taking place in Havant on Thursday 4 May 2023.

If you wear a face covering, you will be asked to remove it to check your photo ID is a true likeness. Don’t worry, we have privacy screens available in all polling stations and a female member of staff will assist you. Alternatively, if you would prefer not to go to a polling station to vote, you can apply for a postal or proxy vote.

You do not need photo ID to apply to vote by post or proxy.  However, the person you trust and appoint to vote on your behalf as a proxy will need to show photo ID.

We have put together a list of links to help you as a voter understand the process.

Tailored resources to support people who are likely to need support to prepare for the new Voter ID requirement:


Changes after 4 May 2023

Absent Voting

  • Absent voting allows you to vote in an election if you cannot get to the polling station. There are currently two types of absent voting – postal voting and proxy voting. You can find out more about postal voting and proxy voting by visiting our website pages. 

Changes to absent voting

  • If you are applying to vote by post or by proxy, you will be asked to provide proof of your identity. A new application service will be set up which allows you to apply for a postal or proxy vote, and verify your identity, online.
  • The existing secrecy requirements will be extended to postal and proxy votes. You can find out more about the secrecy requirements on the Electoral Commission website
  • We expect that the changes below will come into force after the Borough elections and County by-election in May 2023

Postal Voting

  • Currently when you vote by post you are required to refresh your signature every 5 years, this will be changing soon to every 3 years.
  • If you hand in your postal vote at a polling station on the day of the election, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of 6 postal votes. Political parties and campaigners will be prevented from handing in postal votes.

Proxy Voting

  • You will only be able to act as a proxy for a maximum of 4 people. Of these 4, the maximum number who can be ‘domestic electors’ (voters living in the UK) is 2.


Rights of EU citizens for voting and candidacy

EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote or stand for election. Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights;

  • Qualifying EU citizens who come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK (currently this is Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain)
  • EU citizens with retained rights, who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (before the UK left the EU)

This change will apply to all local elections and referendums in England, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. These changes are expected to take place by spring 2024.

Overseas electors

The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living overseas is ending soon. Going forward any British citizen, who was previously registered to vote in the UK or who previously lived in the UK, will be able to register to vote regardless of how long they have lived abroad.

The renewal period for overseas electors will be changing from 1 to 3 years.

We expect that these changes will take place by May 2024. 

First past the post voting system

From May 2023 the voting system will be changing from a ‘supplementary vote system’ to a simple majority voting system, also known as ‘first past the post’.

In ‘first past the post’ voting you only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins. Candidates no longer need to get a certain number of votes; they just need to get more than any other candidate.

The voting system will be changed in all elections for:

  • local authority (council) mayors in England
  • combined authority mayors
  • Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales
  • the London Mayor

Don't worry if you don't have ID, we are here to help!

Who can I vote for?

Residents can find out who they can vote for in any upcoming election by visiting the 'who can I vote for?' website. 

Candidates standing in the election are encouraged to include information about themselves and what they stand for, to help residents make up their mind on who to vote for.

You can also find a list of those nominated here.

Where is my polling station?

You can search for your nearest polling station ahead of any upcoming election by visiting the 'where do I vote?' website. You will also find this information on your poll card.

For borough elections:

For County election

The Electoral Commission has issued two guides to support voters:

Voter ID: supporting blind and partially sighted people to vote

 Voter ID: easy read guide for people with learning disabilities

The guides can also be used by supporters of people with a learning disability or sight loss to help the person they support to take part and vote in the elections.

There are borough elections and a County by-election for Purbrook and Stakes South Division taking place on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Borough election information

Havant Borough Council – Notice of Election

Notice of Agents for all wards

Situation of Polling stations Notice

Statement of Persons Nominated in the borough


Results can be found here

County election information

Hampshire County Council – Notice of Election

Notice of Agents for Purbrook and Stakes South

Statement of persons nominated for Purbrook and Stakes South

Results for County Election here

Register to vote

Registering to vote can be easily done online, you will need your date of birth and national insurance number and the whole process should take about five minutes.

You normally only need to register once, and not for every election. You’ll need to register again if you’ve changed your name, address or nationality. 

The deadline to register to vote in these elections is 11:59pm on Monday 17 April.

Register to vote here

Vote in person at a polling station - you will need voter ID

Most people vote in person at a polling station.  You can search for your polling station ahead of any upcoming election by visiting the 'where do I vote?' website. You will also find this information on your poll card.

The UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at all polling stations in the borough. This will apply for the first time at the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. For more information - including accepted forms of photographic ID - visit here.

Key dates

The following statutory deadlines apply to these elections:

  • Notice of Election – 27 March 2023
  • Appointment of Election Agents  - 4pm on Tuesday 4 April
  • Statement of Persons Nominated – 4pm on Wednesday 5 April
  • Notice of Poll – Tuesday 25 April

Key deadlines regarding voting include:

  • Last date to register for the elections – Monday 17 April
  • Last date to apply for or change a Postal Vote – 5pm on Tuesday 18 April
  • Last date to apply for a Proxy Vote  - 5pm on Tuesday 25 April