Local or General? Do you know what you are voting for?

May 5, 2015

This years Tamworth Borough Council elections take place on Thursday 7 May, the same day as the Parliamentary Elections.

The question that a lot of people want to ask is "what is the difference?"  Well, in the Borough Council elections you are voting for your local councilor, someone who has a say on local issues such as planning within the Borough, refuse collections and local facilities such as parks.  The Parliamentary elections (also known as ‘general elections’) enable you to vote for your Member of Parliament, this is someone who has a say on National issues such as the NHS and Defence.

This year, ten out of a total of thirty 'seats' are up for taking, one in each of the ten council 'wards'.  Each ward area has three Councillors, each voted in by you, the electorate.

The political party with the majority number of 'seats' on the council then form the 'controlling group' with the rest then forming the 'opposition'.  If no party (or independent) have a majority number of 'seats' then they can join together to form a controlling group or 'coalition'.

Tamworth Borough Council is currently made up of 16 Conservative councilors, 12 Labour, one UKIP and one independent, this means that the Conservative form the controlling group.

It is important to use your vote to retain your democratic right, across the world, people have died to have a right to vote.  If you usually go by the mantra that they are 'all the same', look in to them, they are really not.

You also have the option of course to 'spoil' your ballot paper, the best way to do this is just to not mark your ballot paper IN ANY WAY.  

Your vote will then be counted and show two things, that you care enough about local issues to attend the polling station but that you feel that none of the options available represent your views.   This will send a message to the candidates that they need to do more to capture your vote.

If you don't vote then you give the candidates no reason to change, you are not going to vote anyway so why should they try to encourage you to vote for them?  Think about it, your vote is POWER!


 To see who you can vote for, click here.


Voting Questions;

Can I register to vote if I live overseas?

Yes. If you are a British citizen living outside the UK and you meet the criteria detailed below, you can register as an overseas elector. This will enable you to vote in Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections in the UK.

You must meet one of the following two sets of conditions:

  • Your name was previously on the electoral register for an address in the UK
  • You were living in the UK on the relevant qualifying date for that register, and there are no more than 15 years between that date and the date of your application

or:

  • You last lived in the UK less than 15 years before the date of the application
  • You were too young to be on the electoral register before you left
  • A parent or guardian was on the electoral register, for the address at which you were living
  • you are now at least 18 years old or will become 18 during the life of the register for which you are applying.

How do I register for postal voting?

If you would rather have your ballot paper sent to you by post, complete an 'Application to Vote by Post' form and return it to us. The form and guidance is available on the About my Vote website. You can also visit the Electoral Commission website.

 Applications must be received by us at least 11 working days prior to polling day.

To have your postal vote sent to an address different to the one you have previously applied for, you can apply to have your postal ballot papers redirected for one particular election date only. If a long term change of address is required than a new postal vote application will be necessary.

Can I apply for someone else to vote on my behalf?

Under certain circumstances you can apply for a ‘proxy vote’, which allows you to nominate someone else to attend the polling station and cast your vote.

You can apply for a proxy vote if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are registered blind
  • You receive the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance
  • You have a physical incapacity
  • Your employment is such that you could not attend the polling station.
  • You can also apply for a proxy vote for one election if you will be away on holiday or away from home at the time of the election.

If you apply for a proxy vote because you have a physical incapacity or due to the nature of your employment, your application must be supported by a doctor or your employer.

To apply to vote by proxy complete, sign, and return an Application to Vote by Proxy form.

Applications for a proxy vote can be made up to six days before polling day . However an "emergency” proxy vote can be applied for after this date due to unforeseen health reasons. "An emergency” application can be made up to 5pm on polling day.

Where do I vote?

You can either vote in person at the Polling Station. If you prefer, you can apply to vote by post. In certain circumstances you can arrange for someone to vote on your behalf. We hire village halls, community halls, schools and even use facilities in people’s houses to try to ensure that you do not have to travel too far to your Polling Station.