Elections are on their way - be ready!

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FANCY becoming a major part of your community and standing for election?

People across the Advertiser and Review region only have until April 4 to register as a candidate in the local elections, which are taking place on May 5.

Electors also need to make sure they are registered to vote by April 14, which is also the last day for postal vote applications or changes to an existing postal or proxy vote.

As well as electing your representatives on your district and parish councils, it will also be a chance to have your say on how the parliamentary voting system should be run in the future.

>> At Aylesbury Vale District Council, all 59 seats are being contested whilst all 85 parish councils in the area are also up for re-election.

The council is also urging people who think they may be away during April or May to apply for a postal vote to make sure they don’t lose their vote.

Postal votes can be posted back to AVDC, 66 High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1SD or returned by hand to the AVDC offices or a polling station before the close of poll.

Chris Sheard, electoral services manager, at AVDC, said: “People perhaps aren’t aware they need to re-register every year to secure their right to vote.

“We wrote to all Aylesbury Vale households in August last year as part of our annual voter registration process. If you are not sure if you returned your form, or if you have moved house since then and have not re-registered at your new address, then take a few minutes to check.”

Residents can check if they are on the electoral register by telephoning 01296 585807 or emailing electoralreg@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk.

Forms for registering to vote and to request a postal vote can be downloaded from www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/elections.

>> At South Northants Council, nomination packs have been made available for those wishing to stand at the elections.

Jean Morgan, returning officer for the elections, said: “Filling out the nomination form is the first step towards making a real difference in your local area. I would urge everyone to think about standing, as this is a perfect opportunity to represent your local community, and get involved with issues that really matter.”

District and town/parish nomination packs are now available from SNC’s electoral services team which can be contacted at electoral.services@southnorthants.gov.uk or 01327 322128.

Nomination packs for town and parish councils are also available from local parish clerks. Their details can be found on local parish noticeboards, or online at www.southnorthants.gov.uk/1534.htm. They can be posted to SNC at Springfields, Towcester, Northants, NN12 6AE.

To ensure the process runs efficiently, the electoral services team provides an informal checking service – a bit like the passport checking service – to make sure that a nomination paper is valid before it is submitted. This ensures that nominations aren’t rejected if they have any basic mistakes or omissions.

>> Figures published by the Office of National Statistics recently show there are 104,374 people registered to vote in Cherwell.

But Cherwell’s acting returning officer, Karen Curtin, is warning some residents they need to act now if they are to have their say in the council elections and referendum on the voting system.

To request a registration form telephone 01295 227938 or email elections@cherwell-dc.gov.uk. At CDC, election and referendum, registration and requests for postal votes need to be submitted by 5pm on April 14 and for proxy votes, it’s 5pm April 21. They can also be posted to CDC, Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury, OX15 4AA.

Across the region, everyone who is included on the Register of Electors will be sent a polling card giving details of when and where to vote.

The referendum on the UK parliamentary voting system will ask a question about the current ‘first past the post’ system of electing MPs.

Each household will receive a letter from the Electoral Commission to explain the voting process.

Electors registered as European Union citizens are not entitled to vote in the national referendum but may still vote in the local elections.