Regardless of your political persuasion, having a chance to vote is important. We’re residents in Norwich as much as our neighbours, and we should take notice of what’s going on around us.
The decisions of our district counsellors and county councillors affect us every day: just paying attention to national elections isn’t enough. Theresa May doesn’t decide how late the 25 blue bus runs.
That’s why I am trying to get UEA students to register to vote in the upcoming elections for the County Council.
What is a County Council?
There are 33 counties in England, and ours (if you’re registered at Uni) is Norfolk.
There are 84 places on the Norfolk County Council, and these represent the 84 ‘wards’ (also known as ‘electoral divisions’) in Norfolk.
When you register, you’ll be assigned ward based on where you live, and you’ll be able to vote for the County Councillor that represents your ward.
Norfolk County Council elections are held once every four years. The last vote was in 2013, and so the next election for all 84 seats is coming up this year.
Don’t know what your ward is? You’re probably in ‘University’, ‘Bowthorpe’, ‘Wensum’, ‘Nelson’ or ‘Mancroft’, but students do live all over Norwich. Check out the interactive map on the Norfolk County Council website to find out for sure.
Don’t know who your current County Councillor is? Visit the Norfolk County Council website.
What do they do?
County Councils are responsible for services across the whole of a county, like education, transport, planning, libraries, waste management, and public safety. They decide whether the street lights stay on all night, they decide on bus routes, they decide on libraries.
Why should I care?
Have you ever felt unsafe walking home because your streetlights go out at 2am? Do you want to argue that they should stay on all night, or do you think they should go off even earlier? Should the Millennium Library get more funding? Should there be more libraries other than the Millennium Library? Have you ever struggled to get to University because there are no bus routes near your house?
Then register. It literally takes minutes.
How do I register?
You can register by post or online. You’ll need your National Insurance number. You’ll need to register by 13 April 2017.