Time is running out to register to vote in upcoming elections

Graphic with a ballot box

With less than one week to go until the voter registration deadline for next month’s local elections, anyone wanting to vote must make sure they are registered in time. 

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on 14 April. You can apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. It takes just five minutes.  

On Thursday 5 May voters will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them at a local level. This year residents in the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas will be voting to select councillors who will represent them on the new unitary Cumberland Council.  

Electors in some wards will also be voting in some unscheduled local by-elections as well. 

Andrew Seekings Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for Allerdale Borough Council who is acting as the Returning Officer for the Cumberland Council elections, said: 

“With around a week to go, time is running out to make sure you can take part in the local elections. These elections are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and shape the future on the issues that directly affect day-to-day life in what will be the Cumberland Council area. In order to be able to vote, residents must be on the electoral register. So if you’re not registered by midnight on 14 April, you won’t be able to take part.” 

Jason Gooding Carlisle City Council’s chief executive is the Electoral Registration Officer for the Carlisle City Council area, with Copeland Borough Council’s chief executive Pat Graham the ERO for the Copeland area. 

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said:  

“You can only take part in the May elections if you are registered to vote, and time is running out. It’s quick and easy – it takes just five minutes online.

“If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important that you make sure you are correctly registered to vote.  

“If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don’t need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with your current local authority’s election team at Allerdale, Carlisle or Copeland council.”  

Voters have a range of options – they can vote in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. 

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 26 April.  

In the areas currently covered by Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland councils 46 councillors will be elected in new Cumberland wards. The ward boundaries follow those currently in place for seats on Cumbria County Council. 

These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Cumberland ‘Shadow Authority’ that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on Cumberland Council, which will ‘go live’ in April 2023. 

The existing county, borough and district councils will continue to operate and deliver all current services until Vesting Day for the new authority on 1 April 2023. 

On that date the Shadow Authority and its 46 councillors become the new Cumberland Council and it will take over responsibility for services. At that point the existing county, city, borough and district councils will be dissolved. 

For information on Cumberland Council elections in their area, how to register to vote, how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, and who is standing for election, voters can visit the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council website.

There is also more information on registering to vote and the various ways to vote at the Electoral Commission website. This page will continue to be updated ahead of the polls. 

Contact details for electors in each council are:   

  • Allerdale area: 0303 123 1731 or email electoralservices@allerdale.gov.uk 
  • Carlisle City Council area: 01228 817555/6 or email elections@carlisle.gov.uk 
  • Copeland Borough Council area:  01946 598300 and email is elections@copeland.gov.uk 

Details of any unscheduled local by-elections for borough, town and parish councils can be found on the local council websites. 

For more information on local government reorganisation in Cumbria go to the New Councils for Cumbria website

The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. They work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by: 

  • enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible 
  • regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches 
  • using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency 
  • The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK, Welsh and Scottish Parliaments.