ON Thursday, 3 May, local authority and mayoral elections take place across England. In Tameside, a third of the council seats – 19 out of 57 – will be contested.
Voting is open to people aged 18 and over who are a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the European Union resident in the UK.
However, to actually cast your vote, you must be registered.
Taking part in local authority elections is very important. Tameside Council is responsible for a wide range of services such as libraries, street cleaning, leisure centres and waste disposal.
Councillors have a huge say in decisions that directly affect you, and across the UK local authorities like Tameside account for a quarter of public spending – around £200 billion. It’s only by voting that you have any say in how it is spent, or win the right to criticise the powers-that-be.
Your vote matters, so you should take full advantage of it and make sure you make your voice heard.
Registration is a swift and simple process. All you have to do is make sure you have your National Insurance number and visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote The deadline for registration is 5pm on Tuesday, 17 April.
Polling stations are conveniently situated and open from 7am to 10am. Although you’ll receive a polling card through the post, you do not need it to vote.
If you prefer, apply for a postal vote. You can do so by downloading a form from www.tameside.gov.uk/voting/postal and then returning it. You have to apply by post as your signature is required by law. Postal voting is free, convenient and secure. The deadline is 5pm on Wednesday, 18 April.
Proxy votes allow someone else, perhaps a close family member, to vote on your behalf. The deadline to apply for one of these is 5pm on Wednesday, 25 April.
For more information, visit www.tameside.gov.uk/elections
Remember, if you want to vote, you have to register. It’s only by voting that you can have any influence on the make-up of Tameside Council and the decisions it makes on your behalf.
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