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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

North East voters prep for historic first mayoral elections this May

Voting guidance for the up-coming elections on 2 May

Voters across the North East will head to the polls this May to cast their ballots.

Uniquely this year, voters will make history and decide who will become the first North East Mayor. This position will head the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority, encompassing Durham, Northumberland, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Voters will also elect their local council representatives across Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland councils. And the race is on for a new Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, 2 May.

Here is what you will need to know in order to be able to exercise your democratic rights next month.

Who is eligible to vote?:

In England, you have to be 18 or over in order to actually cast your vote. However, those aged 16 and above can register.

You must also be:

  • A British citizen
  • An Irish or EU citizen living in the UK
  • A Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or remain in the UK or does not need permission

How can I register to vote?: 

You can register to vote online on the GOV.UK website, according to the site this usually takes about five minutes. You’ll be asked for your National Insurance Number but you can still register if you don’t have it available.

You can also register so that your name does not appear on the electoral register, for safety reasons. This requires an explanation and either court documentation or testimony from an authorised person.

Paper registration forms are also available on the GOV.UK website to download. The form will then need to be sent to your local electoral registration office.

The deadline for registration is midnight on 16 April 2024, to vote on 2 May.

An East Riding of Yorkshire Council ballot box and voting slip. Image: East Riding of Yorkshire Council\’s press office,

What kind of votes are there and how do you apply?: 

There are three ways you can cast your vote; in person, by post, or by proxy.

If you prefer to vote by post you can apply online. The application will require your address, your National Insurance Number or your passport number.

You will also need to upload of photograph of your handwritten signature on black ink on white paper.

Voters can also vote by proxy, meaning someone other than yourself can vote on your behalf if you cannot get to the polling station. You will need to provide the address of your proxy and their contact details when applying.

Paper forms are also available to download on the GOV.UK website. In order to apply to vote by post or by proxy you must already to registered.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote on 2 May is 5pm on 17 April 2024. The deadline for proxy vote applications is 5pm on 24 April 2024.

Do I need ID to vote?: 

Following changes to legislation last year, for elections on 2 May, you will be required to provide some form of photographic identification or you will not be permitted to vote.

Accepted forms of ID include passports, provisional and full driver’s licences, blue badges, older person’s bus passes, and disabled person’s bus passes. Out-of-date IDs can still be used as long as the photo still looks like you.

A full list of acceptable IDs can be found on the Electoral Commission website. You can also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if you don’t have a valid form of ID on the GOV. UK website.

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