A Complete Guide on the Local May Elections – Your Questions Answered

Local elections are scheduled on May 4, giving citizens in some parts of the UK their first opportunity to vote since Boris Johnson and Liz Truss were removed from office. 

The council elections will not be held in every district, but they will be an important litmus test both Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

More than 8,000 councillors will be elected on 230 councils in England, with 152 local authorities reselecting every seat.

In recent local elections, Labour has made little headway, with the Conservatives currently having more councillors and control of more councils than any other party.

But the geographical locations of this year’s votes could provide a boost for the left, so this could be Sir Keir’s chance to take hold once again.

Here is your guide to what is happening in the May 2023 local election.

When will the local elections be held?

In England, local elections will be held on May 4. Northern Ireland will thereafter have council elections on May 18.  Polling places open at 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.

Who will be voting in May?

More than 8,000 council seats across 230 councils are up for grabs. Mayoral elections are also held in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield, and Middlesbrough.

Elections will be held in all 11 councils in Northern Ireland.

This year, there are no elections in London, Scotland, or Wales.

Is there a local election in my area, and if so, how can I find out who the candidates are?

Most of England has council elections, however the easiest method to find out is to visit your local council’s website.

The Electoral Commission website also offers a guide to which councils are holding elections, which you may use to see if your council is one of the 230 involved.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

If you are registered to vote, you should have received a polling card if elections are being held in your region, or a postal ballot if you have registered for one.

If you feel you are registered to vote but have not received a voting card, contact your local council and ask for democratic services to verify your registration.

You can register to vote using this link on the Government website.

See also
LIVE Local Elections: Starmer ‘set to enter’ No 10 while Tories fear of losing 1,000 seats

Every adult over the age of 18 who is registered at a residence in the area on the day of the election is eligible to vote.

In England, this includes British, Irish, EU, and qualifying Commonwealth people voting in municipal elections.

Why do I need to vote?

With 3,367 seats to defend, the Conservatives are 13 points behind Labour in the latest polls.

Tory chairman Greg Hands has warned that the party could lose more than 1,000 members.

Labour will be seeking to add to its 2,143 seats, while the Lib Dems will be hoping to improve their 1,225.

There are 954 seats up for grabs held by independents, 240 by Greens, and 112 by Residents’ Associations.

With the party defending 26 seats, this election could be the last for UKIP’s elected members.

Reform UK, led by Richard Tice, will seek more seats than their present four.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats and the Yorkshire Party are each defending two seats.

What are the voting requirements?

For the first time ever in England, voters will need to produce identification when they go to the polling station on election day.

Accepted forms of voter ID include:

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
  • A Blue Badge
  • Older Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
  • Disabled Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
  • Oyster 60+ Card funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
  • Freedom Pass
  • Scottish National Entitlement Card
  • 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
  • Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
  • Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland

Those who do not have one of these IDs can apply for a special Voter Authority Certificate but the deadline for this passed yesterday on Tuesday April 25.