Register to vote now in time for forthcoming elections

Closeup of 'Vote-by-mail' section on a voter registration form, with ballpoint pen laying on the for

Don't forget to register to vote - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do you remember what it used to be like watching some informative television programme, or even an especially fact-packed radio show? 

Always, in that Auntie BBC way, we’d be advised as the programme started – sometimes even by the continuity announcer beforehand – that we should have “pen and paper ready”.
There was no opportunity before the mid-90s to ping a website for further details. If you wanted the Animal Magic calendar, or the designs of Blue Peter’s Tracy Island from Thunderbirds, you’d have to write down an address, and fast, with that “pen and paper ready”. Then, you’d despatch a “stamped-addressed envelope” with a “postal order” and at some point within the week while you watched by the window like an eager labrador, the postman would turn up with your reward – “as seen on television”.


So, this week’s column is going to be something like that, I’m afraid, all a bit public service. There’ll be email addresses and web links later, so perhaps it’s time to get the scissors to cut this article out, careful of course to grasp them by the pointed end and not to run down a corridor.


Your first task today is to register for your postal vote. Somewhat perplexingly, the Government has decided to go ahead with elections on May 6 this year. Where we live, that will mean for county councillors, a police and crime commissioner, some town and parish by-elections, and some neighbourhood referenda.


Now, far be it to for me to impugn their motives for taking this obvious risk with public health. A wiser head would postpone to early autumn when two doses of the vaccine were in almost every arm. But the Conservatives want a vaccine bounce, so off we all go. As it stands, no candidates will be allowed to leaflet, or knock on doors, or even sit at a table in a windy square having a chat. Which is how the Conservatives like it. They know the data shows that the postal vote is usually overwhelmingly blue – a virtual election suits them fine.


So – if you haven’t already, and you don’t fancy a Conservative tidal wave in these important elections – may I suggest you register for a vote yourself? A few methods:

  • Register to vote on the national website at www.gov.uk/registertovote and tick a box to request that a postal vote application is sent to you. You can opt to have the form emailed or otherwise the form will be sent by post. I’d do the latter if I were you, unless you have a printer at home.
  • Or you can download the form from the Electoral Commission’s website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voting-person-post-or-proxy/voting-post
  • Or you can email East Devon District Council at electoralservices@eastdevon.gov.uk and request that an application form is sent to you either by post or email.
  • Or you can call the EDDC helpline on 01395 57529 and request an application form is sent, again either by post or by email.

The deadline for receipt of postal vote applications for the elections is 5pm on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
Your other bit of homework today, please, is have a look at the new Local Plan for East Devon. This will set out how and where new homes will be delivered in the district over the coming years.
A consultation is currently running seeking views on issues such as the number of new homes to be delivered and where they should be built, about the types of housing that should be built in the future, and how we address housing standards to ensure that new homes are fit to meet the needs of the community including those with mobility difficulties or other specific needs. And of course how we should be responding to the climate emergency with efficient low carbon housing in the future and minimising residents' need to travel by car. 
Pen and paper ready? https://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/newlocalplan
Thank you.

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