Voting is your democratic right

Voting is your democratic right and you should use it - that is the message from the returning officer for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency.

By Laura Hill
Thursday, 9th April 2015, 1:28 pm

Residents have less than two weeks to ensure that they are registered to vote or could face being turned away from the polls on May 7.

Polling cards should have arrived through letter boxes by April 7, and anyone who is not registered has until April 20 to get on the register.

Harrogate Borough Council chief executive Wallace Sampson is the returning officer for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency. He oversees the count and delivers the result on the night.

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He said: “It is important for every resident to exercise their democratic right to vote, I would particularly encourage young people to ensure that they are registered to vote.”

This election sees the introduction of individual electorial registration. Previously, one person in every household was responsible for registering everyone else who lives at that address. Under the new system, each person is now required to register to vote individually, rather than by household and fears have been raised that some people may miss out, particularly younger people.”

Mr Sampson added: “There are some young people who are at university away from the area who may wish to vote by post, I would encourage people to double check, there is still time.”

Turnout was 71 per cent for the Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency in 2010, more than UK average of 65.1 per cent, something Mr Sampson wants to see repeated.

He said: “The age profile of the district tends to lend itself to people who are generally interested in politics, both on a local council level, and on a national level.

“We have an older age profile than some areas so there are people who are particularly interested in exercising their rights to participate and that is very encouraging and I am keen for that to continue.

He added: “It does feel like it is an exciting year because nationally it is very difficult to predict an outcome.

“2010 saw a coalition government and at the moment on a national level it appears it is too close to call. We just have to wait and see.”

Register to vote by April 20 visit or by call Harrogate Council on 01423 500 600.