Everything you need to know

A number of elections are scheduled to take place across England on May 2 2024. This will be your opportunity to have your say and cast your vote for the candidates which best represent your views and perspectives.

You’ve probably heard lots of information about General Elections, when the Country elects its Members of Parliament, but you may not be as aware of local elections.

We’ve put together some FAQs to give you all the information you need, including explaining what positions you are voting for, when you need to register by and how to vote.

We’ve also included some information about the new requirement to take photo ID with you to polling stations.

You can also find out more about local elections on the Government website


What am I voting for in the local elections?

The elections on May 2 will vary according to each region, but essentially you will be voting to elect local councillors and/or local authority Mayors to represent you at a local authority level.

Elections are also taking place for Police and Crime Commissioners in some areas.

Local government elections take place at least every 4 years but not all local government elections take place at the same time.


Find out if you’re local authority is holding elections this year.

What does a local authority do?

Local councils provide services and facilities in your area. The type of council you have and their responsibilities depends on where you live.

Local councillors oversee the work of the council and set the strategies and priorities. When you vote in local elections, you vote for councillors to represent your ward.

What does a Police and Crime Commissioner do?

Police and Crime Commissioners oversee policing within their police force area and hold the chief constable to account. PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service.

Who can take part in the elections?

You can vote in the Local Elections if you are:

  • Registered to vote
  • Aged 18 or over (16 or over in Scotland and Wales – for certain Elections)
  • Registered at an address in the area you’re voting in
  • A British, Irish or EU Citizen living in the UK
  • a Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
  • a citizen of another country living in Scotland or Wales who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission

Read more on the Gov.uk website.

Can I vote at home and university?

If you are registered to vote at both your home address and your term-time university address, you can choose to vote in either or both areas when voting in local council, Police and Crime Commissioner and mayoral elections – as long as the addresses are in different council areas.

You can only vote once in UK Parliament elections, UK referendums and London Assembly and London Mayoral Elections.

Find out more

How do I register to vote?

In order to vote in the elections on May 2 you must be registered on the Electoral Roll.

Don’t worry, it’s a really quick process and you only need to register once - not for every election. But you will need to register again if you’ve changed your name, address or nationality, since last registering.

You will need your National Insurance number when registering so make sure you know what that is. You will find it on your most recent payslip if you are employed, or any tax/pension letters you have received.

When’s the deadline for registering

You must register by 11:59pm on April 16 to vote on May 2.

Why should I vote?

The decisions taken at local levels affect us all, so it’s important to have your say, as this will influence decision-making on policing and local legislation.

It is an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life.

Local Councillors have control over things like transport, healthcare, education, recycling and much more.

It’s always a good idea to research the candidates for your area to ensure you know who will best represent you and the key issues you’re passionate about. 

Who are the candidates in my local area?

A list of the candidates will be published by each authority.

You may also have already started to receive leaflets through your letter box for candidates. Do take time to read and research so that you can decide who best represents your views.

What do I need to take with me?

If you are on the electoral register you will be sent a polling card ahead of the elections, which will list your allocated polling station.

Polling stations will be open 7am-10pm on May 2.

Voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote.

Find out more about Photo ID

What if I don’t have photo ID?

If you don't have accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate.

Find out more about accepted forms of photo ID and how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate

Do I have to vote in person?

Anyone can apply for a postal vote.

If this is the case you must first register to vote online by April 16, and then complete and return your postal vote paperwork to your Electoral Office before April 17 at 5pm.

Learn more about applying for a postal vote.

Can someone else vote on my behalf?

If you know that you won’t be able to get to the polling station on May 2, you can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy.

The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to cast your vote or can apply to vote for you by post.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for the May 2 elections is April 24 at 5pm.

Find out how to vote by proxy