What are Local Elections?
In local government elections you are voting for between one and three councillors to represent your ‘ward’ on the local council. There are 388 local councils in England and about 20,000 councillors. If you want to know who is standing to be a Councillor in your area, just input your postcode into this helpful tool.
These Councillors will get a say on some important things in your community including; transport, recycling/waste, roads, planning, local green spaces and council run facilities (such as sport centers, libraries etc).
Why vote in the Local Elections?
- Your local council has an impact on many of the services you see and use every day, including housing, transport and public spaces. Choices made by the council will have visible impacts on your community, make sure that you’ve been part of choosing who makes these decisions.
- You can vote for candidates who have a similar vision for the future of your community as you do.
- Local councils set the rates of Council Tax for your area, these rates have a direct impact on your income as well as the services in your area.
- Councillors represent a much smaller group of people than MPs do, that means your single vote is more likely to make an impact on the result.
Who should I vote for?
It is completely up to you who you vote for. If you don’t know where to start you can take a look at our quick summaries of the major political parties (here), but we recommend you take a look at each of the candidates individually – just take a look at some of the leaflets that come through your door ahead of election day.
Don’t forget about minor parties and independent candidates! Although we have focused on the major political parties in the UK there are many candidates that represent smaller parties or even stand independently. It is always important to look into these candidates’ policies too.
Remember, a candidate’s political party isn’t always a solid indicator of their views. Most political parties have a broad spectrum of members within them so it is often worth working out where in the party your candidate stands.
How else can I get involved?
Voting on election day is not the only way to get involved in the local elections. There are plenty of things you can do to get involved in the democratic process!
Political parties are always encouraging their supporters and members to help campaign throughout the year, and especially at election time. Campaigning often involves delivering leaflets, talking to voters, and helping to spread the party’s message in the local area.
You can get involved by contacting the party, or their local branch. Often if you’re a member you’ll receive emails about getting involved too.
Really scary in the beginning but once you get into it, it’s great fun and it feels like you’re doing something worthy
— Lauren E. White (@lxurenwhite) October 12, 2017
Campaigning is a vital part of elections, it connects ordinary voters with the political parties, plus being involved is usually pretty fun and is a great way to meet new people with similar ideas and outlooks!