How do I vote in local elections 2022? Simple May 5th guide for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote in England, Scotland and Wales is 26 April

Elections are taking place across the UK on Thursday 5 May, with voters in all four nations picking the candidates they want to lead their local area.

Voters in Northern Ireland will choose its government.

The results are expected to be influenced by the recent ‘partygate’ scandal, the cost of living crisis and how the pandemic has been handled.

There is still time to apply for a proxy vote in England, Scotland and Wales - as long as you do this by tomorrow (26 April).

Here is a simple guide put together by NationalWorld on how you can vote in your local elections across the UK.

Guidance for England

In England, more than 4,000 councillors in 146 councils are up for election in major cities including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 London boroughs.

South Yorkshire will also be voting for a regional mayor.

Who can vote

Voters must be 18 or over on the day of the election.

All voters must be:

  • registered at an address in the area where they want to vote
  • a British citizen, an Irish or EU citizen or an eligible Commonwealth citizen
  • not legally excluded from voting

How to vote

There are three ways to vote:

  • in person at a polling station (often in places such as schools and community centres)
  • by postal vote
  • by nominating someone to vote for you (a proxy vote)

The deadline to register to vote was 14 April, while the deadline to register for a postal vote was 19 April.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 26 April, although emergency proxy votes will be available for unforeseen circumstances - including having Covid - up until 5pm on election day.

You can go online to register to vote.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on 5 May and if you’re still in a queue to vote when polls close you are guaranteed entry.

Guidance for Scotland

Elections for all 32 Scottish councils will be held on 5 May, with a total of 1,227 councillors to be elected across the country.

Who can vote

Anyone who lives in Scotland and is registered to vote is eligible, so long as they are aged 16 or over on the day of the election and have not been legally excluded from voting (for example because they are serving a prison sentence of longer than 12 months).

They must also be a British or Irish citizen or a citizen of another country living in Scotland who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission.

British citizens living overseas are not allowed to vote in Scottish council elections.

How to vote

An electronic counting system will be used, with dedicated count centres in each of the 32 council areas.

There are three ways to vote:

  • in person at a polling station (often in places such as schools and community centres)
  • by postal vote
  • by nominating someone to vote for you (a proxy vote)

The deadline to register to vote was 18 April, while the deadline to register for a postal vote was 19 April.

The deadline to register for a proxy vote is Tuesday 26 April.

You can register to vote online here and get a postal or proxy vote application form here.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on 5 May and if you’re still in a queue to vote when polls close you are guaranteed entry.

Guidance for Wales

All seats in 22 local councils will be contested across Wales.

Who can vote

Like last year’s Senedd election, anyone over the age of 16 can vote, as can foreign nationals.

Voters must be living in Wales and registered to vote.

They can be a British, Irish or Commonwealth national, an EU citizen or a foreign national who is permitted to be in the UK.

How to vote

The Welsh government is experimenting with new arrangements to allow people in four council areas to vote early.

In Blaenau Gwent, the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale will be open for residents of the county as well as students to vote in the week leading to election day.

Council offices in Ystrad Mynach and Pontypool will be open for residents of Caerphilly and Torfaen respectively on the weekend before election day.

In Bridgend, a polling station will be created in a school so pupils can vote ahead of election day, and polling stations in wards that have had low turnouts will also be open.

To take part you must have registered to vote by 14 April. You can register online.

People can also choose to vote by post. The deadline for applications was 19 April.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for the elections is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on 5 May and if you’re still in a queue to vote when polls close you are guaranteed entry.

Guidance for Northern Ireland

Who can vote

You must be listed on the electoral register and at least 18 years of age by 5 May.

British, Irish, European Union and qualifying Commonwealth citizens are eligible too.

How to vote

Northern Ireland uses single transferable vote (STV) and people can vote for as many or as few candidates as they want in order of preference.

Once counting begins a quota is set for the number of votes a candidate needs to get elected.

All the first preference votes are counted and any candidates who meet the quota are elected.

Meanwhile the candidate with the least votes is knocked out and their votes are transferred to other candidates, based on preferences.

This continues until either five candidates meet the quota or there are only five candidates left.

You must have registered to vote by 14 April.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for the elections was 5pm on Tuesday 12 April.

If you registered online you will need to provide your Digital Registration Number (DRN) on your application for a postal or proxy vote.

You will be informed of your DRN when you register online.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on 5 May and if you’re still in a queue to vote when polls close you are guaranteed entry.

In Northern Ireland you will need to bring photo ID.