Donít lose your right to vote
With a general election imminent and local elections taking place on 6th May, West Oxfordshire District Council is urging residents to make sure they register their right to vote before it is too late.
While a date has not yet been set, the next general election could be called anytime and must take place by 3rd June 2010. As well as the general election, a third (16) of the District Councilís seats are up for election on 6th May, along with some parish council seats.
ďThe time between the general election date being announced and the last chance to register to vote can be a matter of a few days,Ē warns Keith Butler, Electoral Registration Officer. ďAnyone not on the electoral register will not be able to vote.Ē
ďSometimes people do not realise that they need to re-register each year. The registration campaign runs every autumn. We send out forms to all households followed up by reminders to those that have not returned. But, despite every effort there are always some people that turn up at the polling stations only to be disappointed to discover they are not eligible to vote. I urge people to check with us if they think they are not registered.Ē
Registering to vote is easy: print off a form from www.westoxon.gov.uk/register and ensure it is returned to the District Council by no later than Tuesday 20 April for elections taking place on the 6 May. To check you are eligible to vote telephone 01993 861000.
For those that canít get to a polling station to vote requests can be made for a postal vote or proxy vote. A proxy vote is when a registered voter appoints someone else to vote on their behalf.
Registering to vote is a statutory duty and people not on the Electoral Register may also find it difficult to do other things, such as getting a loan or mortgage or mobile phone contract, as registration is one of the criteria used by credit checking agencies. Other pitfalls include not being eligible to apply for certain jobs which require security checks and not being able to open a bank account.
For more details about the forthcoming elections, visit www.westoxon.gov.uk/elections
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