To vote in local elections you need to be on the Electoral Register (sometimes known as the Electoral Roll). This is a list of the names and addresses of everyone who is eligible to vote in elections in the UK.
You can register to vote by visiting a dedicated website here: https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/
This allows you to enter your details be registered within minutes. If you have an impairment that means you would struggle to get yourself registered you can have someone help you. This is usually a friend or relative, but I am also happy to help where I can.
I passionately believe that everyone should exercise their right to vote at all levels of government. Local politics has a huge impact on your life from deciding on how many homes to build in an area to how often the grass and trees are trimmed. These may seem trivial, but when a new housing estate adds 5 minutes to your commute because of increased traffic, suddenly it’s important. When the roots of the trees outside your property are affecting your building, suddenly it’s important. When your neighbour is making lots of noise late at night, suddenly it’s important.
You need a Councillor and a council who can help you. You need a council that cuts the trees back regularly, that plans the housing developments well, and who has the ability to enforce the law around noise disturbances.
More importantly, you need a Councillor and council who cares about you and your area. You can only achieve this by using your vote smartly. If a councillor isn’t working hard for you because they’re not turning up to meetings then you need to vote them out and bring someone new in who is willing to represent you.
Don’t Forget History
It may seem patronising to say so, but we only have the vote in the UK today because of the dedication and hard work of our ancestors.
Working-class men in the cities were given the vote in 1867, followed by working-class countryside dwellers in 1884. But even then the men had to be ‘rate payers’. It wasn’t until 1918 that all men got the vote, along with some women. It is a travesty of history that it wasn’t until 1928 when all women were given the vote.
During the struggles for people to get the vote, especially women, people fought, Governments fell, and people even died. They did so for a basic right to self-determination that many of us take for granted today.