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May Election Information

This May, elections will take place across the UK and give voters a chance to choose their local representatives.

In England, elections will cover local authorities and the London boroughs. These will be held alongside combined authority mayoral elections in some areas of the North, including Barnsley and Doncaster, and local authority mayoral elections in Croydon, Watford, and other areas in the South.

In Scotland, there will be elections to all 32 councils, while the Northern Ireland Assembly election will be held on the same day. In Wales, voters will elect members of all 22 local authorities.

Who can vote?

To vote in a local government election you must: · be registered to vote

  • be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’) (16 or over in Scotland and Wales)

  • be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in

  • not be legally excluded from voting

You must also be one of the following:

  • a British citizen

  • an Irish or EU citizen · a qualifying Commonwealth citizen

  • 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

How to Register to Vote

You can register for the next election through the UK government’s website or through your local authority.

The deadline for registering to vote in the May 2022 elections has already passed and if you are not on the registry, you may be ineligible to vote in the upcoming election. However, if you have registered to vote recently and your information has not changed, you should be able to vote.

If you would like to check the registry or contact your local Electoral Registration Office to confirm your details, you can access their information here.

Where is my polling place?

You can find details of your local elections Electoral Commission’s website here. This website will provide links to your local authority who will list the candidates and parties participating. You will also be able to see the location of your local polling station, how to access the site, and what information you might need in order to vote.

Contacting your local representatives

Your representatives are required to advocate for their constituents in their locality (local authority, assembly or borough), regardless of their party or platform. If you feel strongly about an issue or want to pass on information about things that affect you, write a letter or e–mail. All local representatives can be contacted through their local authority website.

Tips for lobbying your local representative:

  • polite and well–argued letters are more likely to get a response

  • keep it short and get to the point in the first few sentences

  • tell the local representative what you would like them to do, how to vote

  • make sure you provide a return address for them to write or e–mail you

Ways to interact with your local representatives

To find out who your local representative is you can search the UK government website which should connect you through to your local authority. You can also find out how many Irish people live in your parliamentary constituency with our Interactive map.

What you can do to raise Irish community interests at local elections:

Write letters and emails to candidates. Writing as a voter rather than an activist will carry more weight as candidates hear from activists all the time but rarely from regular voters. Doing the same to local newspapers is another potentially effective way to make yourself heard.

Raise issues on your doorstep. If you have a candidate or canvassers knock on your door, they will be happy to answer an informed question.

Phone radio phone–ins. They need questions and you need answers.

Attend hustings. These are public meetings often held at churches and community centres which give candidates a chance to address constituents. At them you can raise concerns and question candidates on their intentions and views. You can find the time and place of hustings in local papers, online, libraries and on church notice boards. ·

Hold a hustings – use our guide and our template for a letter to candidates. Irish in Britain member organisations could organise a husting. If you can get the candidates for your constituency together in your Irish club or community centre and bring your service users or members to meet the candidates, it is a fantastic opportunity to put your club and the needs of the local Irish community onto the candidates’ radar.

Arrange individual meetings with candidates. This is quite a big undertaking so prepare well and be armed with questions.