Should you bother to vote on May 6?

Toby the Norfolk Terrier outside the polling station at Cromer Community Centre.Picture: ANTONY KELL

Toby the Norfolk Terrier outside the polling station at Cromer Community Centre.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Next month Norfolk residents have the chance to make their voices heard and make a real difference in their community.  

On Thursday, May 6, Norfolk goes to the polls for local elections, selecting who should run the county council, Norwich City Council and become police and crime commissioner.  

From road maintenance to social care, local elections matter, and yet in 2017 just 34.5pc of the Norfolk electorate turned out to vote.  

Now, leaders of Norfolk’s various parties are encouraging people to have their say in three weeks.  

Andrew Proctor, leader of the Norfolk Conservatives, said there have been concerns in terms of people voting this year, but stressed polling stations would be Covid-safe, with councils doing everything they could to make sure you can vote safely. 

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

 

“It is all about who runs the big services in Norfolk, whether that’s the highways, children’s services and adult social care.  


You may also want to watch:


“This is all done for everyone’s benefit. These are the services that people value, do you want to see them in the right hands, to make sure people get value for money?”  

Steve Morphew, the leader of Norfolk Labour, highlighted the huge amount of difference councils make to people’s lives, often having more of a direct input than MPs.  

Most Read

“I think people forget how much goes on that is about what councils do,” he said.  

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

“If you read the paper most of what people complain about is what councils do and if they want to have something change, they should make sure they are voting in these elections.  

“We are keen to make sure that people consider the future of the county, children and young people, and how we look after those who are getting older and with disabilities.

“We need to make sure we are a humane and civilised county and taking part in local democracy is one important way.”  

As we come to the end of a remarkable time, Steffan Aquarone, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said these were the most crucial elections for years.  

Norfolk Liberal Democrat group leader Steffan Aquarone. Picture: Alex Broadway

Norfolk Liberal Democrat group leader Steffan Aquarone - Credit: Alex Broadway

“It’s about what comes next after Covid, how we build back,” he said “That’s everything from the climate emergency to the economy, but most important is how we serve the needs of our young people.”  

Mr Aquarone said he was concerned about a brain drain, with young people leaving Norfolk.  

To combat this, he encouraged young people to vote to make Norfolk a county where they wanted to live.  

Sandra Squire, leader of the Independents, said it was vital to have a say.  

“I’ve had residents tell me that they don’t like politics, it doesn’t affect them so they don’t vote. But politics affects every part of our lives, even if we don’t realise it.  

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group.

Independent Norfolk county councillor Sandra Squire. Pic: Norfolk Independent Group. - Credit: Norfolk Independent Group

“The county council have the ability to affect us all from birth, including everything from early years to elderly care, with everything from school places and fostering, to adult education in between.   

“They repair our roads, dispose of our waste, help protect our environment and make sure the Fire Service are there when we need them.”  

She added: “Essentially, your councillor should be your voice and your link to the council. So, if you have a problem, will they go into bat for you?”  

Sandra Bogelein, the local Green Party leader, said councillors were an important part of tackling local issues.  

“As local representatives, we do care about our residents, that is our first role, I feel like I have a duty of care for residents.  

“Residents I speak to say to me, ‘if you don’t vote you can’t complain'.  

Sandra Bogelein said several people had contacted her with problems booking coronavirus tests. Photo

Sandra Bogelein, leader of the Norwich Green group - Credit: Archant

“I would recommend to anyone if they are unsure, they should get in touch with candidates and talk to them about their policies, what they are and what they want to do.”  

There are three ways to vote in the upcoming elections:   

  • In person at the polling station  

  • By post  

  • By proxy – nominating someone to vote on your behalf  

The deadline to register to vote is Monday, April 19, or Tuesday when applying to vote by post.  

Counts for the various elections will take place over the Friday and Saturday after polling day.  

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus