Local elections 2024: When and where are they, and who can vote?

Voters in parts of England will elect councillors and mayors on 2 May.

These are the last local elections before the next general election.

Which elections are taking place on 2 May?

Elections are taking place in 107 local authorities across England.

Voters will also choose the Mayor of London, London Assembly members and 10 mayors outside the capital.

In addition, voters across England and Wales will elect 37 police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

No elections are taking place in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

How can I vote in the May elections?

There are three ways to vote:

  • aged 18 or over
  • registered at an address in the area where they want to vote
  • a British citizen, an Irish or EU citizen or eligible Commonwealth citizen
  • not legally excluded from voting

Voters in some areas will have several ballot papers, for the different elections taking place.

In council elections, voters generally have one vote for each available seat in an election area – known as a ward or division. However, some large wards have several seats.

As in a general election, whoever receives the most votes wins.

For the first time, mayors and police and crime commissioners will also be elected under the first-past-the-post system.

When do I need to register to vote by?

To vote in person in England and Wales, you must be registered by 23:59 BST on Tuesday 16 April.

This can be done online with your National Insurance number, or by writing to your council’s electoral registration office.

If you are already registered, the deadline to request a postal vote is 17:00 on Wednesday 17 April.

If you are already registered, the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 17:00 on Wednesday 24 April.

The rules about voting by proxy have changed. If you applied for a proxy vote before 31 October 2023, it has expired, and you must apply for a new one.

Will I need ID to vote?

Voters will need to show photo ID in order to vote in person. You do not need your polling card.

There are 22 acceptable forms of ID, including passports and driving licences.

Anyone registered to vote without the correct ID – or who no longer looks like their photo – can apply for a free document known as a Voter Authority Certificate before Wednesday 24 April.

What do local councils do and why do local elections matter?

Local councils are responsible for many public services, including:

  • providing care for the elderly and disabled
  • fixing potholes on some roads
  • collecting rubbish

Many councils are facing a funding crisis, and have put up council tax and cut services as a result.

Anger over this may be reflected at the ballot box.

Four English councils declared themselves effectively bankrupt in 2023 – including the country’s largest authority, Birmingham.

A fifth of English councils say they are in danger of going bankrupt, according to the Local Government Association.

The crisis follows long-term cuts to local government funding dating back to 2010.

These elections may also be the last big test of the current Westminster government’s popularity before the next general election, which must take place by 28 January 2025.

What happened last time elections were held in these council areas?

Most of these council seats were last contested in May 2021, after the 2020 elections were postponed due to the pandemic.

Voting took place alongside other elections which were already scheduled.

The Conservatives made significant gains and ended 235 seats up, with Labour 327 seats down.

On the same day, the Tories took Hartlepool from Labour in a parliamentary by-election.

What do mayors do and where are mayoral elections taking place?

The London Mayor represents the 8.9 million people living across the city and has a budget of £20.4bn.

The mayor is responsible for Transport for London (TfL) and has some control over roads, policing and housing in the capital.

Outside London, mayoral elections are also taking place in nine “metro” areas across England.

The West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Tees Valley already have mayors.

For the first time, mayors will also be chosen in the East Midlands, the North East, and York and North Yorkshire.

Metro mayors set out plans to boost their local economy, and have some powers over housing and transport.

If you include the London mayor, they control around £25bn, covering 44% of the population in England.

Voters will also choose the mayor of Salford, the directly-elected leader of the city council.

What do police and crime commissioners (PCCs) do?

Elections for 37 PCCs are taking place across England and Wales – though not in London, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and York and North Yorkshire where the mayor performs this role.

PCCs oversee their local police force and fire service.

When will the May election results be known?

Many local election results will be announced overnight into Friday 3 May, with more expected to follow throughout the day, and a few to be announced over the weekend.

Mayoral results will be declared on Friday and Saturday 4 May.

The London Assembly elections will also be declared on Saturday.


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