Running electoral registration - Scotland

Direct contact with residents

Direct contact with residents

Direct contact is an important element of your public engagement strategy and you should promote the channels residents can use to contact you including:

  • letters
  • telephone conversations
  • text messages
  • emails
  • door-to-door visits
  • social media channels

Your experiences during the last canvass and your ongoing wider registration work will have given you a good indication of which areas respond quickly to written communications and which are more likely to require personal visits. You can use this information to inform your plans for the canvass. For example, in areas that do not respond well to written communications it might be a better use of resources to undertake personal visits earlier in the process compared to other areas.

Any letters and emails you send must be easy to understand and carry clear messages about what the recipient needs to do and how they can do it. 

You should use the template wording that the Commission provides in its forms and letters guidance which reflects results of user testing.

You can give an invitation to register by electronic means, including by email. This means that rather than sending potential electors an invitation to register with a voter registration form and a return envelope. You can (where you have an elector’s email address) encourage them to register online by emailing them an ITR with a link to

This option should be reflected in your strategy and wider registration plans.

For your public engagement strategy and registration plan, you will need to have established the practical process for writing out to residents for the canvass, including timings. You will also need to consider timings for your public engagement activity that supports the canvass, which should include any potential opportunities to link to any wider national or local voter registration activity

For example, National Democracy Week, which aims to increase the number of people who understand and take part in the democratic process, is one such opportunity. Depending on when you issue your canvass communications, you may be able to capitalise on this and the accompanying national publicity, to drive canvass responses and raise awareness among under-registered groups. 

We will keep you updated with our plans for National Democracy Week via our EA Bulletin. You should also ensure that you are subscribed to our Roll Call newsletter which contains the latest information about promoting voter registration and our partnership work. 

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has made available resources that you can use to promote registration activities you have planned during this year. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department for Education make secondary schools resource available and has a Youth Engagement Toolkit for parliamentarians to use with young people in their areas.


Last updated: 9 March 2022