Published on

15 March 2024

Countdown is on to make sure you are registered to vote

There is only one month to go before the deadline to register to vote at the local elections on Thursday 2 May


With local elections and a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election taking place on Thursday 2 May, residents are being urged to check they are registered to vote a month before the deadline.

Ensuring you are registered to vote at future elections is a key milestone, as it affects your eligibility for other deadlines, such as applying for a postal vote.

The deadline to register to vote at this year’s local elections is midnight on Tuesday 16 April.

Registering to vote takes five minutes and all you need to provide is your date of birth and national insurance number. You can register if you are aged 16 and above, even though you must be 18 to vote.

Not only are there local and PCC elections in May, there may also be parish council elections if there are any contested seats in Charvil, Finchampstead, Hurst or Ruscombe.

A general election must also be held by 28 January next year, but it could be called sooner. It is therefore vital to check your registration status and protect your right to vote at future elections or referendums.

Don't lose your voice

Andrew Moulton, Returning Officer at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “Being registered to vote is a crucial first step in being prepared for an important year of elections. Without it, you may lose your right to vote and have your say on the issues that matter most to you.

“This is a quick and easy process and is important to check before the deadline on 16 April, as you may not be able to vote the way you want to – or at all – without it. If you are in any doubt, contact our electoral services team and they will be happy to assist.”

If you are registered to vote, it means you will be able to apply for a postal or proxy vote for upcoming elections. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Wednesday 17 April and for a proxy vote is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April. You can now apply for both of these online, or you can request a paper application form.

Being registered to vote also allows you to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC), a free form of photo ID, which may be needed by residents who do not have suitable photo ID. The requirement to bring ID to vote at a polling station was introduced at last year’s elections, but not all parts of the borough went to the polls and so for many residents this will be their first experience of taking ID to vote.

Before applying, check the Electoral Commission’s website, which has a full list of accepted forms of ID and information on how to apply for a VAC if you need one. The deadline to apply for a VAC is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

You should only need to register to vote once – not for every election – but you will need to register again if you have changed your name, address or nationality. To register, you must be one of the following:

  • A British citizen
  • An Irish or European Union citizen living in the UK
  • A Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
  • A citizen of another country living in Scotland or Wales, who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission

There is a different process to register anonymously, for example if you are concerned about your safety or the safety of someone in your household, which could be at risk if your name was on the electoral register. If you would like to register to vote anonymously, download and complete an application form from the Electoral Commission website.

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