On Thursday 5 May, citizens of the UK will enter polling stations to have their say in local elections. The deadline to register to vote in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is Thursday 14 April, and for Scotland it’s 18 April. Registration takes just a few minutes. You’ll need your national insurance number (though you can still register without it), and your name and home address. Registering to vote can be done anonymously if you, or someone in your household’s safety is at risk.
If you are already registered to vote and would like to vote by post, you can also apply for this by 19 April.
What are local elections for?
Though local elections do not often receive the media attention they deserve, the issues at stake are still important.
Local councils are responsible for council housing, transport, bin collections, public facilities like leisure centres and libraries, roads, and education.
Your vote can impact when bins are collected, how community parks and roads are kept, the condition of public libraries, and arguably most importantly, how hospitals are supported.
Who are we voting for?
In England, not all areas will be having local elections. To check whether your local council will be electing new councillors, visit the House of Commons library website and find your area on the map, or check out the electoral commission website and input your postcode. In those areas taking part, voters will choose between one and three councillors to represent neighbourhoods on the local council. Altogether, there are 388 local councils in England, with 20,000 councillors.
Councillors usually have close ties to the area they represent, either living or working in their ward. . It is therefore hoped that they understood how the region works and can better represent citizens’ views.
Deadlines to register in the UK
- England, Wales and Northern Ireland: April 14
- Scotland: April 18
- Postal vote: April 19
Register here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote