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Cheshire West and Chester Council is reminding all residents about the importance of being on the new electoral register in order to be able to vote in the Parliamentary, Borough and Town and Parish Council elections taking place on Thursday, 7 May.

All West Cheshire residents should have received a letter this week from the Council confirming who is currently on the electoral register at each property.

The registration system changed last June to a new system called 'Individual Electoral Registration' (IER). Previously, any member of the household could register everyone who lived at that address, but now every individual is responsible for their own registration. The letter gives people the chance to check their details are correctly recorded on the register.

What if I have just moved in?
Where people have recently moved in, the letter will allow them to check they are on the register at that address and that the previous occupiers have been removed. The letter also provides answers to many frequently asked questions.

What if my name is not shown as registered?
Anyone who is not shown as registered should take action straight away to get registered at their current address.

How do I register?
Registration is quick and easy to do under the new system, just visit: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to register online. To register, people will need their date of birth and National Insurance number. If you do not have internet access, you can get access from your local library or you can ring the Council's contact centre 0300 1238123.

How do I get rid of previous residents on my register?
Previous occupants at your address can be deleted from the register by visiting http://www.elecreg.co.uk/cwac and using the security codes at the bottom of the letter. Or people should tell the Council about any other changes or corrections.

In the weeks ahead the Council will be continuing to encourage as many residents as possible to register to vote. Council Officers will also be continuing to check the register to ensure it is accurate.

What if I have a postal vote?
To receive a postal vote people must now be registered under IER. Postal voters who are not registered under IER have been sent a letter advising they must register under IER and make a new postal vote application otherwise they will lose their postal vote and will have to vote in person.

Postal voters with a postal vote signature that is over five years old will, by law, have to refresh their signature ready for the elections in May. Notifications will be sent to them directly about this importation requirement.

Ed"Elections are your opportunity to vote for those who represent your views, whether in National Government, Local Government or Parish Council, if you don't vote then you will have missed a once in 5 years opportunity!"