7 reasons you shouldn’t miss the deadline to register to vote

Generic ballot paper being put into a ballot box
Picture: James Bass

Generic ballot paper being put into a ballot box Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2010

Tomorrow is the deadline to register to vote in the local council elections. In Norfolk, there will be elections for all 84 County Hall seats, Suffolk County Council's 75 constituencies are up for election and in Cambridgeshire a further 61 councillors will be elected on May 4. A new elected mayor for Cambridgeshire will also be chosen.

With the deadline looming here are a few reasons why you should vote.

1. Councillors decide how billions of pounds of tax payer money is spent. Just in Norfolk councillors oversee a budget of £1.3bn.

2. The result could have a bearing on your council tax bill. Just as councillors set budgets, they also have tax raising powers. Each year when they set the budget they have to decide if they need to raise more money from taxpayers.

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3. County councils are in charge of loads of services which affect our everyday lives - they organise social care, sort out our pot holes, run our libraries, look after our vulnerable children and some of our schools among a host of other responsibilities.

4. It is something to do on a Thursday in May that is free. You could take the family and teach your young children about the history of democracy and the importance of voting.

5. You have to be in it to win it. You can't really complain about the way services are being run if you haven't engaged with and voted for councillors. Voting gives you the right to moan. If you don't like the look of any of the candidates, how about standing yourself?

6. You can keep the polling station staff company. Local council elections have notoriously low turn out and sometimes poling station staff can spend a long time sitting and waiting for people to come in and vote.

7. Because people died so that people of all classes and genders would be able to take part in democracy. It was only last century that suffrage became universal. Our ancestors would be disappointed that some people were not exercising their democratic right.

You can register to vote online here https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

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