Local government

Local government elections take place at least every 4 years. Not all local government elections take place at the same time.

Your local government will do one of the following:

  • elect all the local councillors every 4 years
  • elect half the local councillors every 2 years
  • elect one third of the local councillors every year for 3 years and hold no elections in the 4th year

To vote in a local government election you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’) (16 or over in Scotland)
  • be a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Local government councillors in England and Wales are elected using the First Past the Post system. You vote for one candidate in your local area and the candidate with the most votes wins.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, councillors are elected using the Single Transferable Vote system. You rank the candidates in order of preference.

When you can vote in more than one local election

If you live in 2 different local authority areas (for example because you’re a student), you may be able to vote in both areas.

You must register to vote in both areas. The local Electoral Registration Offices will check each application and tell you if you can register in both areas.

Read more about local government elections on The Electoral Commission website.