Residents of Leeds who are not registered to vote are encouraged to do so now ahead of the local and parish council elections in May.
In order to vote in the elections which take place on Thursday 4 May, all those wishing to do so need to ensure they are registered before the deadline of midnight on Monday 17 April. This includes anyone who has moved home and needs to register at their new address. Registration takes just five minutes and can be completed online at Register to vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Registering is the first step in the voting process. The second is choosing which method to use to vote, either in person, by post, or by appointing someone trusted to vote on your behalf, which is known as a proxy vote.
Anyone wishing to vote in person is reminded of the need to have an accepted form of Voter ID which will need to be shown in the polling station on election day. To find out which forms of ID are accepted, and how to apply for free voter ID at community hubs and libraries across Leeds, visit Voter photo ID (leeds.gov.uk). The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (free voter ID) is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.
It will be a requirement at polling stations on election day to establish the identity of all voters using one of the accepted forms of photo ID. It may be necessary for polling officials to ask voters to remove face coverings in order to verify their identity. Privacy booths will be available at all polling stations, with a choice of a male or female official to carry out the check.
The need to have a Voter ID only applies to those who wish to vote in person at a polling station or through a proxy in person, it does not affect those who vote by post.
Poll cards for everyone currently registered to vote in Leeds will be posted at the end of this month. Residents are being asked to check the details on their poll cards when they arrive to ensure they are correct and also to note the location of their polling station which may have changed.
Postal poll cards will also be sent to anyone currently registered to vote by post, followed by postal ballot packs which will be issued from around 19 April. Anyone wishing to vote this way can apply to do so via https://www.leeds.gov.uk/your-council/elections/postal-voting. The deadline for applications for postal voting is 5pm on Tuesday 18 April, and residents are being asked to apply as soon as possible to help manage demand.
Another option available is to vote by proxy, which can be applied for via www.leeds.gov.uk/elections. The deadline for applications to vote by proxy is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.
Elections Returning Officer and chief executive of Leeds City Council Tom Riordan said; “With the pre-election period starting shortly, it is important anyone who wishes to vote makes sure they are registered to do so before the deadline on 17 April. If you are already registered to vote you do not need to apply again.
“For anyone who wants to vote in person at a polling station, they need to make sure they have an accepted form of ID as it will need to be shown before they are given a ballot paper. To check if you have accepted ID and to find out what help is available to obtain free ID in Leeds visit Voter photo ID (leeds.gov.uk).
“Poll cards will start to be posted out shortly so it is important to have everything in place well ahead of election day on May 4.”
Craig Westwood, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission, said; “It is important that people check they’re election ready ahead of upcoming deadlines. All voters must be registered, and some may need to apply for a postal or proxy vote or free ID.
“At elections in May, for the first time, voters will need to show photo ID at polling stations. Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of photo ID can apply for free ID online or by completing a paper form and submitting it to their local council.”