Make sure you're registered to vote by Tuesday 17 April 2018
On Thursday 3 May 2018 voters in Southampton City will go to the polls to elect their local councillors.
The Returning Officer for Southampton is encouraging residents who are not yet registered to do so by Tuesday 17 April 2018 to ensure they can take part in this year's elections. Registering is easy and only takes a few minutes online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
National research shows that young people, students and recent home movers are less likely to be registered to vote than other groups. In England and Wales, 3 out of 10 18-24 year olds are not registered to vote and 63% of private renters are registered compared to 94% of outright homeowners.
Mark Heath, the Returning Officer responsible for running elections in Southampton, said: “Registering to vote is easy and only takes a few minutes online. If you’re not registered you won’t be able to have your say on issues that directly affect your day-to-day life in Southampton. If you don't know if you are registered or not you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call our team on 023 8083 2245 and we’ll be happy to check for you.”
There are 95 polling stations in Southampton open from 7am to 10pm. Every elector will receive a polling card detailing where they need to go to vote.
If you have chosen to vote at a polling station your poll card will be white.
If you have applied to vote by post your poll card will be yellow. A postal pack, including your voting papers, will be sent to you in the post shortly after you receive your card. It is important that you complete your postal pack carefully and return it as soon as possible to make sure it arrives in time.
You can find out where your local polling station is at the Southampton City Council website.
The Local Election
Southampton City Council is made up of 48 members or councillors who make decisions on matters affecting the city. The city is divided into 16 wards and each ward is represented by three councillors who are appointed for a term of four years.
This year one third of the current seats will be up for election in each of the 16 wards across the city. Every year for three consecutive years, one councillor in each ward will have completed their term of office and their seat is put up for election. The appointed councillor will then be in post for a further four years. In the fourth year there is no election. This is known as electing by thirds. The list of candidates running in this year's election will be available from the Southampton City Council website once nominations have closed.
What does Southampton City Council do?
Southampton City Council is responsible for a large number of services in the city. This includes but is not limited to:
- Maintaining 1,140 hectares of parks and open spaces and 416 miles of roads and pavements
- Providing 16,300 council houses
- Providing long term support for over 3,000 adults
- Recycling, reusing and composting 27,000 tonnes of waste each year
- Dealing with over 1,000 planning applications
- Offering services to 2,500 vulnerable children and supporting and advising 75 schools
Here’s a rundown of things you need to know before polling day
Make sure you vote in time:
- Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 3 May 2018. You had to have applied to register to vote by midnight on Tuesday 17 April 2018 in order to be able to vote on 3 May 2018.
- Your poll card will have been sent to the address where you are registered. It will say where your polling station is. You can only vote at the polling station that is stated on your own poll card.
- Plan what time you will be able to cast your vote at the polling station, leaving plenty of time before the 10pm deadline.
- If you are in a queue at your polling station at 10pm you will still be able to vote.
- If you arrive at the polling station after 10pm then the poll will be closed and you will have missed your chance to take part.
- If you have a postal vote, make sure it is returned by 10pm on Thursday 3 May 2018.
- If you have not had time to post it before polling day, then you can take it to any polling station in the electoral area on polling day and hand it in. Postal votes that arrive after 10pm on Thursday 3 May 2018 will not be counted.
- If you’ve appointed a proxy, then they need to make sure they are able to vote at the correct polling station on your behalf.
- If you are suddenly unable to vote in person, because you have a medical emergency which prevents you from attending on polling day, or your occupation, service or employment means that you cannot go to the polling station in person, and you only become aware of that fact after the deadline, then you may be entitled to appoint an emergency proxy.
- You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day. You should contact your local electoral registration office directly to ask about this.
What you need to take with you to vote in a polling station:
- Social media is a great way to let your friends and family know you have voted and to encourage them to do the same. So use Twitter, Facebook and any other social media accounts you have to get the message out there.
- Remember! Pictures of you before you go into or after you leave the polling station are great to use on social media posts but don’t take a picture of yourself inside the polling station as if you post this it could be a breach of the law.
How to fill out your ballot paper:
- The staff at the polling station will give you a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for.
- Staff are on hand at the polling station to provide advice on the voting process.
- If you are disabled, you can ask the Presiding Officer for help and they can mark the ballot paper for you. You can also ask someone else to help you (e.g. a support worker, as long as they are either a relative or an eligible elector).
- If you have a visual impairment, you can ask to see a large print ballot paper or you can ask for a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret.
- Take your ballot paper into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote. Read the ballot paper carefully, it will tell you how to cast your vote. Do not write anything else on the paper or your vote may not be counted.
- Mark your ballot paper according to the instructions. A pencil will be provided for you to do this, but you may use your own pen if you prefer.
- If you make a mistake on your ballot paper, don’t worry, so long as you haven’t already put it in the ballot box just let the polling station staff know and they can issue you with a replacement ballot paper.
- Fold your completed ballot paper in half and pop it in the ballot box - and that’s it done.
More information is on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk or call Southampton City Council Electoral Services team on 023 8083 2245 or contact us online.