Residents help councils reduce costs

Residents who confirmed their voter registration online, by text or by phone have helped their councils reduce costs.

It would have cost an extra £86,000 if these digitally-minded residents had responded by post.

Every year councils have to write to all households to check who is eligible to vote. Each person who responds online or by text, rather than writing, saves their council £2.30 in postage and processing costs.

Around 37,400 people responded digitally to North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council.

The councils ran a competition earlier this summer to encourage residents to respond digitally. Residents who responded online, by text or phone to the letter, which is known as the annual canvass, were automatically entered into a draw for £1,000.

The winner was Sarah Burton from Shaftesbury. She said: “I am amazed, I didn’t believe it at first, I was in complete shock! I am really delighted as I don’t usually win. I’m so thankful to have won and I am sure to be taking my mother out to a lovely dinner with the winnings!

“It was much easier confirming the electoral registration details digitally than posting a letter. I’d encourage anyone to go online, text or phone as it is much less bother. It is also good to know that by making these changes we are helping to reduce our councils’ costs.”

Councillor Peter Barrowcliff, corporate portfolio older at West Dorset District Council, said: “Doing business with your council digitally is generally easier and saves resources, thank you to everyone who responded this way.”

In North Dorset around 12,500 residents (59 per cent of respondents) responded digitally. In West Dorset about 15,700 residents (45.8 per cent of respondents) replied digitally. In Weymouth and Portland around 9,200 residents (47 per cent of respondents) replied digitally.

If anyone has not yet responded to the letter asking them to check their voter details, please do it digitally. More information is available here.