Only a week left to register to vote in Wales’ local elections
People hoping to have their say in elections taking place across Wales next month have just a few days left to register to vote.
Contests are taking place on May 5 in every council area in Wales for the first time since 2017.
But people who have not yet registered to vote, or aren’t sure if they are currently eligible, have only a short while to apply.
The deadline to vote is one week away on April 14. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is April 19.
As with last year’s Senedd election, anyone over the age of 16 can vote. So can any foreign national who is permitted to be in the UK.
Every council seat in Scotland, London and many parts of England will also be up for grabs, along with the election of a new Northern Ireland Assembly.
The deadline in England and Northern Ireland is also April 14, while in Scotland it is April 18.
Ailsa Irvine, director of electoral administration and guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “With only a week to go to the registration deadline, time is running out to make sure you can take part in the May elections.
“These elections are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say in who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life.
“It’s quick and easy to register – it takes just five minutes online at www.gov.uk/registertovote. All you need is your name, date of birth and national insurance number.
“If you have recently become eligible to vote or moved home, it is particularly important that you make sure you are correctly registered. If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don’t need to take any action.”
Much has changed since 2017 when Carwyn Jones was First Minister, Leanne Wood the leader of Plaid Cymru, Theresa May Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour Party, and the Liberal Democrat leader was Tim Farron.
Yet many of the issues that can decide local elections remain the same, such as when bins are collected, the state of neighbourhood parks and pavements, and access to libraries and hospitals.
This year’s elections are also likely to be a verdict on the party leaders and their handling of such national issues as Covid-19 and the cost of living.
First Minister Mrk Drakeford will hope that the positive verdict delivered by voters at last year’s Senedd elections, in the middle of the pandemic, continues. Labour lost 112 council seats and control of the Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend councils at the 2017 election and will hope to bounce back.
It will also be the first big electoral test for Prime Minister Boris Johnson since the “partygate” scandal.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey will be judged on whether their parties are able to make gains at the expense of the Conservatives.
And across the country, smaller groups such as the Greens, residents’ associations and independents will hope to cause surprises and upsets.
On Thursday, May 5, elections will take place for:
– Every local authority in Wales, Scotland and London
– South Yorkshire’s regional mayor plus the borough councils of Barnsley and Sheffield
– 60 district councils, 31 Metropolitan boroughs and 19 unitary authorities across the rest of England
– County councils in North Yorkshire and Somerset
– All 90 seats in the Northern Ireland assembly
– Local mayors in Croydon, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Watford
There is also a referendum in Bristol on whether to keep or abolish the city’s elected mayor.
Here are the key dates in the countdown to polling day on May 5:
– April 12: Deadline in Northern Ireland to apply for a postal or proxy vote.
– April 14: Deadline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to register to vote.
– April 18: Deadline in Scotland to register to vote.
– April 19: Deadline in England, Scotland and Wales to apply for a postal vote.
– April 26: Deadline in England, Scotland and Wales to apply for a proxy vote.
– May 5: Election day. Polls open from 7am to 10pm.
– Overnight May 5/6: First results expected. Counting for the elections is likely to continue throughout May 6 and into May 7, while the final results from Northern Ireland might not be declared until May 8.
– May 6: All councils in Wales are expected to count their votes on Friday, rather than overnight, with the results that evening.
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