Make sure you are registered to vote in May’s local elections

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Bedford Borough residents have until midnight on Monday 17 April to register to vote in the Mayoral and local elections in May.

Most residents are currently registered. However, if you are not currently registered to vote please visit the Government's website. Registering to vote is quick and easy, it only takes five minutes and can be done online. When registering, you can also apply for a postal vote. This means that during an election you will automatically be sent a ballot paper to your home, so you can vote via post, avoiding the need to go to a polling station.

Once registered, you will be placed onto the electoral register – which means you won’t need to register again, unless you move house.

Laura Church, Returning Officer at Bedford Borough Council, said: “We don’t want anyone to miss out on their chance to vote. Registering to vote is quick, easy and has a number of benefits – not only can you take part in the democratic process, but it will also help with future credit checks - helping with mortgages, loans or even a mobile phone contract.”

Those registered to vote, and plan to cast their ballot in person, are reminded that they will also have to show eligible photographic ID at polling stations from May. This new requirement has been introduced by the UK Government. It means voters across England will be required to show an accepted form of photo ID when voting at polling stations for local elections. Residents without one of the suitable forms of ID will be able to apply for free ID called a Voter Authority Certificate which can only be used in polling stations.

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate in time for the local elections is Tuesday 25 April at 5pm. Residents should make sure they are registered to vote before applying. You can find out more details about voter ID on our webpage.

Previously, the mayoral election used the Supplementary Vote system, where voters would choose a first and second choice. In another change, the Elections Act 2022 has changed this and now the voters will be counted using the First Past the Post system – the same used for UK Parliamentary and local elections.

To find out more about the 2023 local elections, visit our dedicated webpage.