Editor's note: Voting in the upcoming local elections


All the information you need to vote in the local elections on 4 May

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Image by Gracie Daw

By Gracie Daw

Normally, an Editor's note accompanies an edition and commends all of the amazing work that the Nouse team has done, something I can talk about for hours. But I don't have much longer left in this role and this is a subject I'm very passionate about, so indulge me here.

I love an election. I wake up early on polling day to cast my vote, I've been known to collect my poll cards, and I've taken a photo outside the polling station for every election I've voted in. I've even voted in my building society's AGM - that was during Covid though, so I had a little more time on my hands. Elections are one of my favourite things, and this year the local elections are happening on my birthday, so I'm considering it a present to myself!

I'm not party political in any way and I've never campaigned, but I love electoral procedure (a sentence I'm sure you've never heard anyone say until now). So, here is my guide to voting in the upcoming local elections.

Firstly, local elections are happening in some districts across the UK on 4 May 2023. You can find out which authorities will be up for election here. To make things easy for readers, York is up for election – so students living in and around the city will be able to vote. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm to allow for everyone to vote and if you aren't able to make it, you can cast a postal vote (more info on that to follow).

To vote in the UK, you need to register to vote, which can be done here. The deadline for voting in the elections on 4 May is 17 April. It takes about five minutes to fill it all in. You will be sent a confirmation letter once you have registered, followed by a poll card shortly before the election detailing where to find your closest polling station. If you have not received the poll card by the election, you can get in touch with the council to follow up, but don’t worry; you do not need to present your poll card in order to vote.

In an important change for 2023, it will now be necessary to take photo ID to the polling station to vote. A student card does not count as a form of ID, so make sure you take your passport or driving licence (as you would when going to Salvos on Sports Wednesdays). If you don't have a form of photo ID, the photo is out of date, or the name on your ID is different to that on the electoral register, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate here by 5pm on 25 April 2023. A full list of accepted IDs can be found here.

As a student, you might have two addresses: a home address and a term-time address and you can register to vote at both. In a general election, you can only vote at one, but in local elections, you are able to vote in both locations provided they are in different council districts. For example, if your term-time address is in York, but your home address is in Liverpool, you will be able to vote in both elections. This is because you will not be voting in the same election twice: the election in York has absolutely no effect on the election in Liverpool. If both of your addresses are in the same authority or district, you can't do this.

It would be impressive for students to travel between a home and term-time address in a day to vote, which is where a postal vote comes in. You can have a postal ballot for the second address sent to where you will be before the election, so that your vote is counted. You will need to register for this by 5pm on 18 April, you can do so here. It will then be sent wherever you ask and instructions will be inside for when and where you need to post it to.

In short, remember to register to vote and turnout on 4 May. The local elections may not seem like much, but they involve representatives who are responsible for the delivery of local services and they will have an enormous impact on your life. Thank you for indulging me with this one – normal Editor's note programming will now resume.