Elections - Use Your Vote
Voting is the most important way to make your voice heard on the issues which affect everyone.
Decisions are made on behalf of everyone every day by Central Government, Local Government and Parish Councils on issues such as Defence, Social Services, Education, Roads, Refuse Collection and Taxes.
Cycle of Elections
Parish and District elections are held on the first Thursday in May, once every four years. The last elections were held in May 2011 and the next will be held in May 2015.
County Council elections are usually held on the first Thursday in May once every four years. The last County Council election was held on 4th June 2009 and the next will be held in 2013.
Parliamentary elections are held in response to Her Majesty the Queen dissolving Parliament and issuing a Writ to hold an election. The maximum term of office of a government is five years, however, elections are usually held before the time has expired. The last Parliamentary election was held on 6th May 2010.
European Parliamentary elections are held every five years on a date which is determined by the Council of European Communities and takes place throughout Europe between Thursday and Sunday of the specified week. This is because Member States traditionally vote on different days of the week. Elections were last held in 2009. The next election will take place in 2014.
How to Register to Vote
An Electoral Register is compiled following a canvass of properties occupied on 15th October each year. The Register is used to enable residents to vote at any elections, polls or referenda which might be held during the year. Canvass forms are delivered to every household during the late summer. If you move house during the year, contact your local/district council (see below) to obtain the appropriate form.
To be able to vote your name must appear on the Register of Electors, if you are not sure whether or not you are registered you can contact the electoral services section of your local district/borough council (see links below).
If you are unable/do not wish to attend the polling station then you may vote by post or you may appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf. To obtain the necessary forms you will need to contact your local district/borough council (see links below).
The Electoral Registration Officer makes and keeps two versions of the electoral register – the full register and the edited register.
The full register lists everyone who is entitled to vote. Only certain people and organisations can have copies of the full register and they can only use it for specific purposes. These include electoral purposes, prevention and detection of crime and checking your identity when you apply for credit. The Representation of the People (England & Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2002 states who can have a copy of the full register and for what purposes they can use it. It is a criminal offence for them to pass it on to anyone else to use it for any other purpose.
The edited register can be bought by anyone who asks for a copy and they may use if for any purpose.
Page Last Updated: 30 August 2011