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It’s the 3rd of May, and there’s a knock on your door. Who is it? It’s democracy, paying you a visit. What does is want? It wants you to vote!
Voters are heading to the polls across England today for the local elections 2018, where you’ll be voting to elect the local councillors for your ward. They’ll be the ones in charge of services like housing, education, libraries, planning, transport, roads, and social services, so they have a huge impact on how the local community will look and feel over the coming years. The people running in your election might belong to a political party (Labour, Conservative, etc.), or they might be an independent. It should be printed near their names on the voting slip. You may even have met some of the candidates!
Provided you registered to vote before the deadline, all you need to do is show up to your local polling station, give them your name and address, and fill in a slip of paper! Make sure you put the X in the right box, so have a good read of the ballot paper before you place your cross. It takes no more than five minutes, and is a crucial part of your democratic rights. You can find your polling station on the polling card you should have received, so you can head there before 10pm this evening and cast your vote. If you live on campus, and are registered to vote, your polling station is in the Arts Building. Anyone with any accessibility requirements is also entitled to assistance voting if necessary. You can find out more here.
Polling stations opened at 7am and close at 10pm today so as long as you are in a queue by 10pm, you will be guaranteed the opportunity to vote.
If you want a say in how your local community is run, voting is one of the most direct forms of political action you can take. You’ll have a say in who represents you – the values and policies that matter to you should be reflected in the person you vote for. But what if you don’t like any of the candidates? You should still go and vote, but you don't need to select a candidate. The best way to show political dissent is not through not voting, but through spoiling your ballot. That way you can show that you’re unhappy with the political system, without being ignored.
Don't worry, you can still vote as it is not mandatory to take your polling card to the polling station (although it can speed up the process). Your local authority's election office will be able to tell you where your polling station is. To find the contact details of your local office, enter your postcode on the About My Vote website.
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