Local elections: Everything you need to know as register to vote deadline closes today

Want to vote in the May 2 local elections? It is your last chance to register ahead of the April 16 deadline. Here is everything you need to know if you haven't registered already

Anyone not registered to vote in the local, mayoral and police commissioner elections on May 2 has only a few hours left to apply.

A range of contests are taking place across England and Wales on polling day, with every voter able to take part in at least one type of election.

Nearly 2,700 council seats in England are up for grabs across 107 local authorities, while 37 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales will also be chosen.

How can I register to vote?

People who have not yet registered to vote, or are not sure if they are eligible, have until 11.59pm on Tuesday, April 16 to submit an application.

This can be done online at gov.uk/registertovote.

Around 44 million people are estimated to be eligible to vote in the elections, but as many as seven million people are either incorrectly registered or missing from the register entirely, according to the Electoral Commission.

Some 31,495 applications were made on April 2, the highest for a single day so far this year.

What other elections are taking place?

Polls are also taking place to elect some of the most high-profile mayors in the country, including Greater Manchester, London and the West Midlands.

Craig Westwood, director of communications at the Electoral Commission, said: “Today is the last day to register to vote ahead of the elections on May 2.

“Only people who are registered can have their say on issues important to their local area, so don’t delay.

“Registering to vote is quick and easy – all you need is your name, date of birth, address, and National Insurance number.

“Those previously on the register who have recently moved home or whose details have changed will need to register to vote again.”

What should I bring?

All voters intending to cast a ballot in the elections will not only need to be registered but also show a form of photo identification at the polling station.

Not all types of photo ID will be accepted, but a passport, driving licence or blue badge are valid. You can also make use of an out-of-date ID if you still look the same.

You can check if your chosen form of identification is valid on the government website.

Photo ID rules were brought in as part of the Elections Act 2022, with the government saying they were necessary to combat the risk of in-person voter fraud.

The requirements were first enforced at last year’s local elections in England.

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Are there other options to bringing photo ID?

Anyone without the correct identification will need to apply for a voter authority certificate by 5pm on Tuesday April 24, which can be done online at gov.uk.

A report by the Electoral Commission suggested at least around 14,000 people - 0.25% of voters - did not vote in those elections after being unable to show an accepted form of photo ID at their polling station.

More than 32,000 applications for a voter authority certificate (VAC) have been made so far this year, government figures show.

The average number of VAC applications per day stood at 794 in the week to April 14, a slight increase from 788 the previous week, but up sharply from 536 a fortnight earlier.

Just 8% of VAC applications in the most recent week came from people under 25, while 3% came from those aged 75 and over, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

Applications from 55 to 64-year-olds accounted for 28% of the total, followed by 45 to 54-year-olds (22%), 35 to 44-year-olds (17%), 25 to 34-year-olds (12%) and 65 to 74-year-olds (9%).

Where can I vote?

If you intend on voting in person, rather than via post, your polling card will tell you where to go.

Opting for a postal vote, however, will require you to apply for a specific postal vote if you're away from home or you're abroad and wanting to vote in England, Scotland and Wales.

You won't need to give a reason unless you're voting from Northern Ireland.

If you’re unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.

You can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, including: being away on polling day, being registered as an overseas voter, having a medical issue or disability, and not being able to vote in person because of work or military service.

Your proxy should be someone you trust to vote on your behalf. You’ll need to tell them which candidate (or referendum outcome) you want to vote for.

Can I bring my dog to the polling station and can I take pictures?

In recent years, both bringing your dog and taking pictures at polling stations have become increasingly popular things to do.

But, this year, some polling stations won't allow for dogs to be brought. Something that will need to be checked before attending to cast your vote.

Pictures are also potentially out entirely. It is illegal to take a photo of your ballot or anyone else's and would nullify your vote.

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