With local elections coming up in early May, many of us will be keen to have our say in who runs our councils.
They’re taking place on Thursday, May 4 for most local councils across England (except the Greater London area as they were held in 2022, and some other areas including Cornwall and Dorset).
Mayoral elections will also take place in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.
With 8,057 seats are up for grabs in 4,831 wards, it’s a chance to vote on issues that affect your area – but this time, everyone will notice a major change at the polling booth.
For the first time in England, you’ll need to show photo ID to vote – so you can’t just rock up as before, give your name and get a ballot paper.
But how do you make sure your name is on the list of people eligible to vote, and what’s the deadline for doing it?
Here’s what you need to know.
Do I need to register to vote?
Yes, you do need to be registered to vote.
Many people will already have done it by filling in or replying to their electoral registration form which comes in the post.
If you’re not sure whether you’re already registered, you can contact your local council and check.
Because of the need for photo ID, your name must match the one on the electoral register. If it doesn’t, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
Note that it doesn’t matter if your photo ID is out of date, so long as the picture looks like you.
The government says you’ll need to register again if you’ve changed your name, address or nationality.
How do I register?
Have your national insurance number to hand, if you have one – though you can register without it.
What’s the deadline for registering to vote?
For the upcoming elections on May 4, you need to have registered by 11:59pm on Monday, 17 April.
You can still register at any time after that date, but it will be too late for those elections.
To vote in the local government elections in Northern Ireland on May 18, you need to have registered by 11:59pm on Friday, 28 April.
Who can vote in UK elections?
You must be aged 16 or over (or 14 or over in Scotland and Wales), and also be one of the following:
- A British citizen
- An Irish or EU citizen living in the UK
- A Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
- A citizen of another country living in Scotland or Wales who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
MORE : When is the next UK general election as Rishi Sunak ‘plans next date’?
MORE : When is the next London mayoral election?
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