Poll reminder and voter ID ‘respect’ plea

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday (4 May) next week in a number of parish and town council elections across the area, as well as in a by-election for a vacant seat on Westmorland and Furness Council.

There will be elections for the following parish/town councils:

  • Barrow Parish Council – all 11 wards will be contested
  • Penrith Town Council – three wards will be contested, Penrith North, Penrith South and Penrith West
  • Asby Parish Council
  • Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council
  • Kirkby Stephen Parish Council
  • Matterdale Parish Council
  • Musgrave Parish Council

The Westmorland and Furness Council by-election is for the vacant Old Barrow and Hindpool seat, following the death of Councillor Ann Thomson in January.

There will be no polls for any other parish/town councils in Westmorland and Furness next week.

That means people in any areas other than those listed will not need to attend polling stations next Thursday, even if they have previously received a poll card in the post.

This is because in many places – including all parishes in the South Lakeland area of the new Westmorland and Furness Council, as well as in Askam and Ireleth, Dalton with Newton, and Lindal and Marton in the Barrow area – all elections scheduled for 4 May have been confirmed as ‘uncontested’ following the close of nominations.

This means the number of candidates standing did not exceed the number of vacant seats available, and therefore the nominated candidates were returned unopposed and no poll needs to take place.

The full lists of candidates, along with more information about May’s elections, is available on the Westmorland and Furness Council website: www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk/voting-and-elections/parish-council-elections-2023

Residents are also reminded that voter ID will be required at these elections.

The UK Government introduced the requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station and that the new rule would apply for the first time at this year’s local elections on 4 May.

From October 2023 this requirement for voters to show photo ID will also apply to UK General Elections.

Accepted forms of photo ID include:

  • A UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport
  • A UK or EEA drivers’ licence and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass

Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.

Anyone who does not already have any of the accepted forms of photo ID listed was able to apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate. The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for next week’s elections was 25 April, so has now passed.

Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Westmorland and Furness Council and Returning Officer for the local elections, has appealed for people visiting polling stations on Thursday next week to respect polling station staff and to understand that the request for appropriate photo ID is now a legal requirement.

She said: “This is a new requirement that has been introduced and we recognise that not everyone will be happy with the new rule.

“But please respect our staff at the polling station and remember that under the new legislation they have to ask to see an appropriate form of photo ID to allow you to cast your vote.

“Our staff have had extra training and know what are the acceptable forms of ID under the new system. Polling station staff don’t have any discretion in this matter.

“Please respect their right to request to see your ID before allowing you to vote and please respect their decision if they consider you do not have the correct ID and are therefore not entitled to vote on this occasion.

“We will not tolerate any abusive behaviour directed towards our staff and will not hesitate to contact police if there are any issues.’’

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