On Thursday, May 5, people in the Barrow, Eden, South Lakeland, Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle will have their say on who represents them on the two new councils.
The two councils of Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness might not come into being until 2023 but the councillors elected in May will represent their constituencies from May 5 until 2027.
With the deadline to register to vote fast approaching, the Returning Officers for Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Council is urging people who are not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time.
In order to vote in May, residents must be on the electoral register.
The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Thursday, April 14.
It takes just five minutes to apply online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council, is the Returning Officer for the Westmorland and Furness Council elections said: “Time is running out to make sure you can take part in these elections
“They are an important opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you and who will influence the way the future of local services is shaped in the new Westmorland and Furness Council
“If you’re not registered by April 14, you won’t be able to vote.”
Andrew Seekings the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for Allerdale Borough Council who is acting as the Returning Officer for the Cumberland Council elections echoed the same sentiments.
This year residents will be voting to elect councillors to the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Council, as well as electing councillors to some parish and town councils in areas where there is a vacancy.
In the areas currently covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils 65 councillors will be elected in new Westmorland and Furness wards.
While the area of Allerdale, Copeland and Carlisle will be electing 46 councillors for Cumberland council.
These councillors will be elected for a five-year term of office, the first year on a Cumberland or Westmorland and Furness ‘Shadow Authority’ that will oversee the planning and preparation for the new unitary council, followed by four years on the Cumberland or Westmorland and Furness 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 or 65 councillors become the new Cumberland or Westmorland and Furness Council and it will take over responsibility for services.
At that point the existing county, borough and district councils will be dissolved.
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “You can’t have your say in these elections unless you are registered to vote. Registering is easy and only takes five minutes.
“If you have recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important to 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 local authority.”
People can choose to vote in a number of ways whether it is 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 April 19, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on April 26.
For information on elections in your area, how to register to vote, or how to apply to vote by post or by proxy, visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter