On Thursday 5 May people in the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas will have their say on who represents them on the new Westmorland and Furness Council.
In order to vote in May, residents must be on the electoral register. With the deadline to register to vote fast approaching, the Returning Officer for Westmorland and Furness Council is urging people who are not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time.
The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday, 14 April.
It takes just five minutes to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
This year residents will be voting to elect councillors to the new Westmorland and Furness Council, as well as electing councillors to some parish and town councils in areas where there is a vacancy.
In the areas currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils 65 councillors will be elected in 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 county, borough and district councils 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, borough and district councils will be dissolved.
Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, is the Returning Officer for the Westmorland and Furness Council elections. She said: “Time is running out to make sure you can take part in these elections.
“They are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you and who will influence the way the future of local services is shaped in the new Westmorland and Furness Council.
“If you’re not registered by 14 April, you won’t be able to vote.”
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “You can’t have your say in these elections unless you are registered to vote. Registering is easy and only takes five minutes.
“If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important to 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 local authority.”
People can choose to vote in a number of ways – 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.
For information on elections in your area, how to register to vote, or how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter
This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls.
For more information, please contact the SLDC Communications Team on 01539 793300.
Notes to editors
For more information on local government reorganisation in Cumbria go to: Home (newcouncilsforcumbria.info)
The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. It works to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
· enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
· regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
· using its expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency
The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK, Scottish and Welsh Parliaments.