Absent Vote Signature Refresh
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Purpose of refreshUnder the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001, Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) must, by 31 January each year, send every person who has an absent vote and whose signature has been held for more than five years a notice requiring them to provide a fresh signature if they wish to remain an absent voter. This applies to postal voters, electors who have appointed a proxy and postal proxies.
Legislation further states that absent voters have six weeks from the date the notice is sent to return the completed and signed notice to the ERO. If the deadline is missed, the absent vote will be removed and a letter will be sent to the elector informing them of this action. Anyone whose absent vote is removed and who wishes to vote by post in the future will have to complete a new absent vote application.
Absent voters who have a special arrangement are not affected by the refresh provisions as a signature is not held for them.
The timetable for the absent vote refresh process is as follows:
25 January 2013 - notices sent to over 4,700 absent voters, asking them to return the completed notices by 8 March 2013.
15 February 2013 - reminder notices to be sent to those electors who have not yet returned the notice or where a notice has been returned but is not acceptable for some reason (e.g. surname different to that on original application, details did not scan because writing was too faint).
8 March 2013 - deadline date for receipt of notices. Any absent voters who have not returned the notices by this date will have their absent vote deleted on the next working day.
11 March 2013 - all non-responders' absent votes to be deleted and a letter sent to the relevant electors advising them of our action.
Frequently asked questions