With only one week to go until the voter registration deadline for next month’s local elections, anyone wanting to vote must make sure they are registered in time.
The deadline to register to vote is midnight on 14 April.
You can apply online at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote It takes just five minutes.
On Thursday 5 May voters will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them at a local level.
This year, residents in the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland council areas will be voting to select councillors who will represent them on the new unitary Westmorland and Furness Council.
Electors in some wards in the South Lakeland area will also be voting to elect councillors to Kendal Town Council.
Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council and Returning Officer for Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “With only one week to go, time is running out to make sure you can take part in these elections.
“The elections this year are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and shape the future on the issues that directly affect day-to-day life in what will be the Westmorland and Furness Council area.
“In order to be able to vote, residents must be on the electoral register. So if you’re not registered by midnight on 14 April, you won’t be able to take part.”
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “You can only take part in the May elections if you are registered to vote, and time is running out.
“It’s quick and easy – it takes just five minutes online at: www.gov.uk/registertovote
“If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important that you make sure you are correctly registered to vote.
“If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don’t need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with your current local authority’s election team.’’
Voters have a range of options – they can vote in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote.
The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April.
In the areas currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, 65 councillors will be elected in 33 new Westmorland and Furness wards.
These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Westmorland and Furness ‘Shadow Authority’ that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Westmorland and Furness Council, which will ‘go live’ in April 2023.
The existing Cumbria County Council, Barrow Borough Council, Eden District Council and South Lakeland District Council will continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023.
On that date the Shadow Authority and its 65 councillors become the new Westmorland and Furness Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county council, borough and district councils will be dissolved.
For more information on Westmorland and Furness Council elections, including an interactive map showing the new wards and a list of who is standing for election, visit the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council website at https://www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk
There is also more information on registering to vote and the various ways to vote at: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter
This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls.
For more information on local government reorganisation in Cumbria go to: www.newcouncilsforcumbria.info