All postal and proxy voters must make a written application to the Electoral Registration Officer for their voting area, providing their date of birth and, with the exception of those who are unable to sign in a consistent manner, a sample of their signature. These signatures and dates of birth are stored securely for electoral purposes and are known as “personal identifiers”.
In line with current legislation, the Electoral Registration Officer for each electoral area must send a notice in writing to every absent voter, whose signature on the Electoral Register’s personal identifier’s record is more than five years old, by 31 January each year.
- We will need these absent voters to provide a fresh specimen signature if they wish to remain an absent voter; and
- We will inform them of the date on which they would cease to be entitled to vote by post or by proxy in the event of a failure or refusal to provide a fresh signature i.e. six weeks from the date of the initial notice.
The initial notice will be posted to all affected electors in January 2020.
The purpose for collecting this refreshed data is to ensure that we hold as accurate a record as possible and thereby potentially limit the number of postal votes that are rejected due to mismatched identifiers or signatures.
If an absent voter has not responded within three weeks of the original notice, a reminder notice will be sent. Any absent voter who does not respond to this reminder notice will be written to during February 2020 to inform them that their absent vote has been cancelled and that they can either:
- apply for a new application to vote by post; or
- vote in person at their polling station in future elections
Any absent voter who no longer wishes to vote by post can tick the relevant box on the form and return it in the pre-paid envelope provided to Electoral Services, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE
If you have any queries regarding the refreshing of an absent vote personal identifier, please contact Electoral Services on 01255 686566 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Help and Advice on completing the Signature Refresh Form
On receiving your signature refresh form, please read both the information letter as carefully before completing the form in black ink.
- Check that all your details are correct. If they are not correct please contact Electoral Services for further guidance
- Sign your normal signature (keep your signature within the inside of the box)
- Provision of your date of birth is optional. Should you wish to provide this again, please enter your date of birth, ensuring that all boxes are completed, using zeros where necessary, eg 09 04 1983
- Once the form has been completed, please return it in the pre-paid envelope that has been provided for this purpose.
Should you not be able to provide a signature because of injury or disability, please contact Electoral Services.
6 January 2020 - notices will be sent to approximately 800 absent voters, asking them to return the completed notices by March 2020.
27 January 2020 - 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 (for example, the surname provided is different to that on the original application or the details did not scan successfully because the writing was too faint).
20 February 2020 - 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.
21 February 2020 - all non-responders' absent votes to be deleted and a letter sent to the relevant electors advising them of our action.