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Elections 2022: Supporting citizens' right to vote

Useful local elections information for social workers

Most areas in the UK will have elections on 5th May, and in order to vote, you must be registered.

The elections taking place on 5th May are:

  • local government, combined authority mayoral, mayoral and parish council elections in England
  • local government and community council elections in Wales
  • Northern Ireland Assembly election

You must register by 11:59pm on 14 April to vote in these elections.

Also taking place on the 5th May are local government elections in Scotland, but the deadline to register vote for this is 18th April by 11:59pm.

People who use social work and other support services are often left out of democratic processes - because they cannot easily access information on how to register or use their vote, or because they don’t who the candidates are, or because they can’t get to the polling station and have not been supported in getting a postal vote.

It is an important social work task to help people exercise their right to vote and to enable them to find out what candidates locally and nationally might do for them and the issues they care about

If you are a social worker who knows an adult who might need help to exercise their right to vote, please take the time to find out what you can do to help.

This might mean taking two minutes to help them register online or having a chat about how they can find out about the parties’ manifesto pledges or explaining to those how proxy and postal votes work.

Of course, helping someone to use their vote should never be about influencing how they vote. The social workers’ role is removing the barriers that people with care and support needs often face in exercising their rights and citizenship.

And if you are a social worker – remember to use your vote. Ask your candidates what they will do for social workers and for people who need and use social work services!

Guidance on Registering and Using Your Vote in the May 2022 Elections

1. How to register to vote

  • If you have received a letter saying you are registered to vote, you don’t need to do anything – you will get a voting card through the post
  • If you need to register, the easiest and quickest way to do this is online (on the computer). Ask your social worker, a family member or friend to help you do this if you don’t know what to do or don’t have a computer
  • It takes just a few minutes to register to vote online - you can do so via the Government website
  • REMEMBER: If you’ve moved home since the last time you voted you might not be registered and should register again
  • All you need is your National Insurance number.  You can find this number on a payslip, a letter about tax or benefits, official letters or e-mails Government departments
  • Your Council’s Electoral Services can help if you cannot register online.

2. How to vote

  • Your polling card should tell you where and when to go to vote. This should be a place close to your home
  • You don’t normally need your polling card to vote on the day, just have some ID with the address that matches the one you are registered to vote at. This is compulsory in Northern Ireland.
  • If you are going away you can register for a postal vote here 
  • If you want someone to go to the polling station on your behalf, you can apply online for a proxy vote.

3. Find out what your local candidates stand for

  • A simple web search will tell you who all your local candidates are and their main views
  • Many candidates will have email addresses or twitter accounts that you can use to contact them to pose questions that you may have

If you need any further information about voting, or how to help others vote, you can contact our Public and Political Affairs Lead Kerri Prince on kerri.prince@basw.co.uk