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Councils urge vote registration for May 2024 election

By Connor Steel

LOCAL RESIDENTS across both Gosport and Fareham have been asked to ensure that they have joined the electoral register before the approaching May elections; which will see eligible voters “have their say” on council representatives in their areas as political parties look to build momentum before the next General Election due to be held later this year.

People are being urged to check if they are registered at their current addresses after a big increase in property moves since 2022; the last time an election was held in either Gosport or Fareham. Councils have also urged those who have just turned eighteen to complete their application, which can be done in 10 minutes using www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

This must be submitted by ‘midnight’ on April 16 (Tuesday) to ensure the delivery of polling cards and allows the official processes to be verified before the election date. Figures show that as many as seven million residents are missing out upon opportunities to elect candidates in Britain by not being registered; a total that could change the course of politics.

Elections are taking place in 107 different local authorities across England, whilst voters will elect a total of thirty-seven Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs). In London they will vote for the Mayor and members for its Assembly, whilst 10 Mayors outside the capital will further be elected. No elections in Northern Ireland or Scotland are due this time around.

Meanwhile voters in Gosport will be able to chose one council representative in each ward, meaning that the total of 14 seats will be decided in this election. It follows the all-out election in May 2022 that saw the Liberal Democrats seize an overall control of Gosport Borough Council from the Conservatives; winning 16 out of 28 seats in the ‘landmark victory’.

In contrast Fareham voters will be permitted to vote for two council representatives across 16 wards; following Gosport in having an all out election after recent boundary changes. Votes in 2021 and 2022 saw the Conservatives win a large majority in the Civic Offices, where they currently hold 25 of 31 seats with five Liberal Democrats and an ‘Independent’.

There is furthermore set to be the choice for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight PCC across the local Boroughs, whilst a Hampshire County Council By-Election is due to be held for the vacant Fareham Sarisbury division. And later on in the year voters are likely to cast their votes on MPs in the General Election; which is set to be held in the autumn or winter.

People can chose to vote in person and by post alongside the option to appoint somebody to vote in their place; which is somebody they trust and is known as a ‘proxy vote’. The deadline to fully apply for the postal vote is 5pm on April 17 (Wednesday), whilst the deadline for proxy votes is set as 5pm on April 24 (Wednesday); this link being available here.

Voters have further being advised of significant changes for May 2024 elections, which may potentially include different ward names and polling stations than normal. Photographic identification is further needed for all ‘in-person voting’ with people asked to visit the Gosport Borough Council site or click www.fareham.gov.uk/elections for all further information.

PICTURED BY HOLLY MASON: Votes being counted for “Gosport Borough Council” Elections back in early May 2022.