Campaign launched to encourage people to have their say at election time

Library image.
Library image.

Bedford Borough Council is celebrating Democracy Day with the launch of a campaign to encourage more people to take part in this year’s elections.

Those living in Bedford Borough could be entitled to have their say in up to four elections with mayoral, councillor and town and parish council candidates up for the vote alongside the General Election.

The council is encouraging householders to make sure they are registered to vote in a special awareness campaign running from yesterday’s Democracy Day (January 20) to National Register to Vote Day on February 5.

This year the way people register to vote has changed, moving from the old registration system where one person registered on behalf of a whole household to the new system of Individual Electoral Registration, where everyone will need to register to vote themselves.

The council will be writing to homes in Bedford Borough as part of the campaign.

For those not registered to vote it is now even quicker and easier as people can apply online at www.bedford.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Alongside an online campaign, a roadshow will be held in Bedford Town Centre on Saturday, February 7 and the council is working with the University of Bedfordshire, colleges and schools to encourage young people to make sure they are registered.

It has also commissioned the national pro-democracy charity ‘Bite the Ballot’ to work with it locally.

Electoral registration officer for Bedford Borough Council Philip Simpkins said: “Democracy Day celebrates the 750th anniversary of the first UK parliament of elected representatives at Westminster yet people living in many countries are denied the right to vote and have their say. We’re supporting the campaign to recognise the importance of a democracy and encourage as many people as possible to register to vote and take part in the elections here in Bedford Borough.

“Registering couldn’t be easier. As well as in writing this is the first time that people can apply online at www.bedford.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Whether you are making a cup of tea, waiting for the TV ad break to end or running a bath, you can complete the online registration. This should appeal to many people so why not get online to register to vote and celebrate Democracy Day.”