People hoping to have their say in elections taking place across the UK next month have just days left to register to vote.
Contests are held on May 5 in each of the four nations, with every council seat in Scotland, Wales, London and many parts of England up for grabs, as well as the election of a new assembly of ‘North Ireland.
But people who haven’t yet registered to vote or aren’t sure if they’re currently eligible have little time to apply.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the deadline to register to vote is a week away on April 14, while in Scotland the deadline is April 18.
Most of the seats in the May 5 election were last contested in 2018, when the UK was still in the European Union, the Prime Minister was Theresa May, Labor was led by Jeremy Corbyn and the leader Liberal Democrat was Vince Cable.
The UK’s political landscape has undergone huge changes over the past four years.
Yet many of the issues that can decide local elections remain the same, such as the timing of trash collection, the state of neighborhood parks and sidewalks, and access to libraries and hospitals.
This year’s elections should also be a verdict on key party leaders and their handling of national issues such as Covid-19 and the cost of living.
This will be the first major electoral test for Prime Minister Boris Johnson since the partygate scandal.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey will be judged on their parties’ ability to make gains at the expense of the Tories.
In Scotland and Wales, the SNP and Plaid Cymru will want to hold their own in the face of challenges from parties across the UK.
And across the country, smaller groups like the Greens, residents’ associations and independents are hoping to cause surprises and upheaval.
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “With only a week until the registration deadline, time is running out to ensure you can participate in the May elections.
“These elections are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say in who represents you on issues that directly affect everyday life.
“It’s quick and easy to register – it only takes five minutes online at www.gov.uk/registertovote. All you need is your name, date of birth and national insurance number.
“If you have recently become eligible to vote or have moved, it is particularly important that you ensure that you are correctly registered. If you were registered to vote in the last election and your contact information has not changed, you do not need to do anything.
On Thursday, May 5, the elections will take place for:
– Every local authority in Scotland, Wales and London
– The Regional Mayor of South Yorkshire as well as the Borough Councils of Barnsley and Sheffield
– 60 district councils, 31 metropolitan boroughs and 19 unitary authorities in the rest of England
– North Yorkshire and Somerset County Councils
– The 90 seats of the Northern Ireland Assembly
– Local Mayors of Croydon, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Watford
There is also a referendum in Bristol on whether to retain or abolish the city’s elected mayor.
Here are the key dates counting down to Election Day on May 5:
– April 12: Deadline in Northern Ireland to request a postal or proxy vote.
– April 14: Deadline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to register to vote.
– April 18: Deadline in Scotland to register to vote.
– April 19: deadline in England, Scotland and Wales to request a postal vote.
– April 26: deadline in England, Scotland and Wales to request a proxy vote.
– May 5: election day. Polling stations open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
– Night 5/6 May: First expected results. The count for the election in Britain is set to run through May 6 and into May 7, while the final results in Northern Ireland may not be announced until May 8.