The May election registration deadline is coming up as the last day to register in Scotland is 11:59pm on Monday, April 18.
Those who haven’t yet signed up to vote have just days – or hours – to get it sorted.
For people in the rest of the UK, the clock is really ticking, with the deadline set for 11:59pm tomorrow (April 14).
Elections will be held on May 5 in each of the four nations, as every council seat in Scotland, Wales, London and many parts of England are up in the air, plus the election of a new Northern Ireland assembly.
Applications have jumped with Government figures showing 28,273 applications were made on Tuesday – double the daily average for the year so far and the highest for a single day since last autumn.
The number is likely to rise as the cut-off gets closer. On the equivalent deadline day last year, applications leapt to nearly 90,000.
How to register to vote
“There is only a matter of hours left to register to vote ahead of the May elections,” said Craig Westwood, director of communications at the Electoral Commission, to the PA news agency.
“If you want to make sure your voice is heard and you’re not already registered, it’s really important that you go online and register now at www.gov.uk/registertovote.
“It only takes five minutes – so the next time you are waiting for the kettle to boil you can register to vote. All you need is your name, date of birth and national insurance number.”
Voters may also register using a paper form in England, Wales and Scotland.
You’ll need to print, fill out and send the form to your local Electoral Registration Office.
When elections will take place
On Thursday, May 5, there will be elections for:
- Every local authority in Scotland, Wales and London
- South Yorkshire’s regional mayor plus the borough councils of Barnsley and Sheffield
- 60 district councils, 31 Metropolitan boroughs and 19 unitary authorities across the rest of England
- County councils in North Yorkshire and Somerset
- All 90 seats in the Northern Ireland assembly
- Local mayors in Croydon, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Watford
- A referendum in Bristol on whether to keep or abolish the city’s elected mayor
Important election dates
Here are the key dates in the countdown to polling day on May 5:
- 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 apply for a postal vote
- April 26: Deadline in England, Scotland and Wales to apply for a proxy vote
- May 5: Election day. Polls open from 7am to 10pm
- Overnight May 5/6: First results expected. Counting for the elections in Great Britain is likely to continue throughout May 6 and into May 7, while the final results from Northern Ireland might not be declared until May 8.
What’s important this election
The political landscape of the UK has undergone huge changes in the past four years.
Most of the seats up for election on May 5 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 Liberal Democrat leader was Vince Cable.
Yet many of the issues that can decide local elections remain the same, such as when bins are collected, the state of neighborhood parks and pavements, and access to libraries and hospitals.
This year’s elections are also likely to be a verdict on the main party leaders and their handling of such national issues as the cost of living and the pandemic.
In Scotland and Wales, the SNP and Plaid Cymru will want to hold their ground in the face of challenges from other parties.
It will be the first big 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 whether their parties are able to make gains at the expense of the Conservatives.
And across the country, smaller groups such as the Greens, residents’ associations and independents will hope to cause surprises and upsets.
Don’t miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond – sign up to our daily newsletter here .