With just over 24 hours left to register to vote all candidates for the Bedford Borough mayoral elections in May have urged Bedfordians to register to vote.
There is a concern that the current state of national politics will have a knock on effect to the turnout at this year’s local council elections up and down the country.
However, while delays over Brexit and disagreement over other national matters may be justified, voting in local elections allows for local people to have a say on matters that have no connection to Westminster.
But, the message from the mayoral candidates is clear, if you value Bedford Borough and want to have your say, whatever that may be, register to vote so you have a voice.
Registering could not be easier, you simply need to visit the following website and fill in your details it will take five minutes.
Anyone over the age of 16 years of age or older can register to vote but you must be 18 at the time of the next election (2 May) to take part in this year’s local council elections.
You also need to be a British, Commonwealth, Irish or EU citizen living in the Bedford Borough area.
Registrations must be complete by 23:59 on 12 April 2019.
Labour mayoral candidate Jenni Jackson said: “I would encourage everyone to register to vote. As well as funding vital services, Bedford Borough Councillors and the Mayor are responsible for improving your local area directly and so voting is a real chance to create change in your area.
“Voting is a hard won right and I urge people to give themselves the opportunity to vote for local candidates and a Mayor that will put people first.”
Meanwhile Conservative mayoral candidate, Gianni Carofano, added: “This election is about electing the people who will run the things that impact on your lives every single day.
“From bins and potholes, to housing, social care and the environment, it is our elected officials at Bedford Borough Council who make a real difference to our lives.
“As a father of four children who are currently growing up in Bedford, my priority is in building a future for them, in providing a Borough for its people, its families and its future generations.
“That is what we are voting for on the 2 May, and that is why it is so important that people register to vote and use that vote to decide the direction our Borough will take.”
Current Mayor, Dave Hodgson (Lib Dem) said: “These are crucial local elections, giving people the chance to have their say on who represents them for the next four years.
“We’re all exasperated by the goings on in Westminster, but these elections are about local issues and I strongly urge everyone to make sure they’re registered and then to vote.”
The UKIP candidate for mayor, Adrian Haynes, added: “How our local taxes are spent in the area we live, affecting things like homelessness, refuse collection, parks, education, social care, transport, policing, street care, local community activities and so much more is dictated by the people who get elected in our local elections.
“We are all invited to vote, to investigate the parties and the candidates and see who would wisely, honestly, fairly and efficiently spend the taxpayers’ money in the way ‘we’ think it should be used.
“We all love to moan about what doesn’t happen, here we have a real chance of having our own input. So many countries have no chance to democratically elect their leaders, local or otherwise, our freedoms in this regard have been hard won over hundreds of years, specially for all of us.”
And the Green Party candidate, Adrian Spurrell, agreed that registering to vote is of vital importance: “It’s more important now than it ever has been to vote. So much is changing in the world that you need to have your say.
“If you’re not registered you can’t vote If you don’t vote you don’t get a say”
Philip Simpkins, Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council also added: “Time is running out to make sure you can take part in the local elections.
“These elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life here in Bedford Borough.
“The last date to register to vote is 12 April.”
Details on the elations and how to register to vote or change your current voting arrangements can be found at: www.bedford.gov.uk/elections2019