I’m sure if your post box is anything like mine, you’ll be getting lots of party-political leaflets as we approach local elections on the 4th of May.
This year’s local elections are particularly important because they are an ‘all-out’ contest. Thanks to the 2022 Local Government Boundary Changes, all 57 seats on Tameside Council, three per ward, are up for grabs.
I tend to think of local elections as the humbler brother of a General Election. They don’t receive anything like the same degree of national media coverage, but in actual fact are even more important when it comes to local issues.
Where a General Election focusses on who represents you on a national stage and who ends up with the coveted keys to 10 Downing Street, the local elections are instead concerned about how you are represented in your local council. Your Councillors worry about what is happening on your street, lead local campaigns and deal with casework ranging from housing to crime to bin collections.
I served as a Local Councillor for 9 years before I became a Member of Parliament, so know all too well just how hard Councillors work for relatively little fanfare. That’s why, irrespective of your political allegiances, I urge you to vote in the upcoming local elections.
A reminder too that this year you will be required to take photographic ID with you to the polling booth. I have made no secret of the fact that I think this new rule is totally pointless, won’t do anything to tackle (incredibly rare) voter fraud and actually risks reducing voter turnout. Unfortunately, it is the will of the national Government of the day, so we have to work with it.
Valid forms of photo ID include – but are not limited to – your UK passport, driving license (provisional or full), Older Person’s Bus Pass or a National identity card. The full list of valid ID can be found at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.
If you don’t have an accepted form of ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, again through the electoral commission website. I don’t want to see voter turnout reduced, so spread the word about bringing photo ID with friends and family.
We all have a right to vote for who represents us. That right is the cornerstone of our democracy and can make a huge difference. So please, register to vote, remember your photo ID, and use your voice.