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How does the local election work and what will be different this time due to the pandemic?

  • Students have unique opportunity to vote in both term-time address and home address, as long as these are different council areas
  • Polling stations to follow Covid-19 guidelines with face coverings, social distancing and floor markings and sanitisers

What do we vote for in the local election?

Manchester City Council is split into 32 wards, separating it into civil parishes, and borough and district councils. 

Voters on Thursday will head to the polls to elect one councillor in each ward with one vote per person. Local councillor elections are held in three out of every four years. Each ward is represented by three councillors with a third of these seats up for election on Thursday.

The Mayoral elections are also taking place on 6 May, which happens every four years, although mayors serving their first term usually prompt another election after three years. Voters will have two votes to use on their mayoral ballot. 

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 local elections were postponed for both councillors and mayors.  

What do local councillors do? 

Councillors are elected by members of the community to help make decisions at a council level. This means: leading local campaigns, helping with local concerns or questions, working with local businesses and groups, representing community views at council meetings and generally working alongside and for the community.

You can find your local councillors and more information about them here.

What does the Mayor do?

The Mayor of Greater Manchester is an elected representative who oversees how local services are run. 

They have agreed powers for the following areas: housing, transport, health and social care, education, local industrial strategy and the 30-year investment fund. 

Agreed powers of Greater Manchester Combined Authority infographic

There are nine candidates to choose from, using a supplementary voting system. This means that people can cast both a first and second choice vote. 

How do I vote?

First of all you must be on the electoral register to vote. 

If you are a student, you can vote in the local elections for your term-time address and your home address, providing that these are different council areas. This gives students a unique opportunity to make a difference both at home, and at university, if they choose. 

However, you will most likely need to have either applied for a postal vote or a proxy vote for the address you are not currently at, as you are likely to be unable to vote in-person at both places.

The deadline has now passed for a postal or proxy vote.

If you have already applied to vote by post, the ballot will be sent to your current address for you to fill in and send off.

You may still be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote if you cannot vote in person because of your employment situation or a disability and became aware of this after the proxy deadline (27 April 2021). You can apply for this until 5pm on election day. This means that you can ask somebody to vote on your behalf. 

What will be different at polling stations this year?

In-person voters will need to follow the Covid-19 government guidance around social distancing and face coverings. Manchester City Council has said that: “there will be signs, floor markings and hand sanitiser for you to use.”

Voters will also be asked to bring their own pens and pencils, to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. 

You can use this tool to find your nearest polling station. 

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