Register today: Police and Crime Commissioner elections

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Police and Crime Commissioner elections are taking place across England and Wales (apart from London) in November. These new elected positions are designed to enable us to have more influence in how our local areas look and feel - from CCTV, street lighting and graffiti to tackling gangs and drug-dealing. This is your chance to have your say and Samantha Mills, Head of Campaigns at the Electoral Commission writes for OBV about the making sure that your vote counts.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections are now just over six weeks away. With the voter registration deadline creeping up on Wednesday 31 October, now is the time to check that you’ll be able to have your say.

Electoral Commission research shows that just 77% of people from BME communities are registered to vote, with it dropping to as low as 50% for African communities in some parts of London.

We don’t want anyone to miss out. Visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk to download a voter registration form today. If you think you might already be registered but want to double check, call your local electoral registration officer. If you’re not sure who this is, you can use the postcode search on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk to find their details.

So what are the Police and Crime Commissioner elections?

On Thursday 15 November you will be asked to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner for your local police force. This person will then have a number of responsibilities. These range from deciding how the policing budget will be spent, appointing the Chief Constable and producing a police and crime plan setting out local policing priorities.

If you want to have your say, you must be registered to vote by 31 October.

The elections will take place in 41 police force areas in England and Wales and each Police and Crime Commissioner elected in November will serve for three-and-a-half years. The elections won’t be taking place in London because the Mayor of London already has the powers of a police and crime commissioner in relation to the Metropolitan Police.

Who is standing for election?

At the moment the full list is unavailable because the candidate nomination deadline hasn’t passed. However, many websites and newspapers have published the names of those who have expressed an interest in standing, or have confirmed that they will be standing.

The full list, along with information from the candidates themselves, will be published on Friday 26 October on the Government’s website, www.choosemypcc.org.uk

For those people who would like to stand, there is still time available. The closing date for candidates to register is 19th October. For information on the eligibility requirements to stand as a Commissioner visit the Electoral Commission website

How will I know how to vote?

These are new elections, taking place at an unfamiliar time of year and using a voting system that has not been widely used before – the Supplementary Vote system. This means you can vote for a first and second choice of who you want to win.

There will be two columns on the ballot paper. You vote for your first choice candidate by marking a cross in the first column, and your second choice candidate by marking a cross in the second column. As long as you mark an ‘x’ in the first column, your vote will be counted.

You’ll find a full explanation in our booklet that will soon be coming through your letterbox. It has all the information you need to cast your vote with confidence.

The campaign

We’re launching a campaign on Monday 22 October to let people know how to register, and how to cast their vote at the elections.

You should soon start to notice our adverts on the television, in newspapers and on the radio.

We’ve also created an online video, featuring our character ‘Victor the Voter’, to spread the message and explain how to cast your vote using the Supplementary Vote system.

You can help encourage your friends and family to register to vote by:

How to find out more

If you have any further questions, we’re on hand to help. Visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

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