Call to register to vote for ‘milestone’ election for new mayor

Residents are being urged to make sure that they are registered to vote so that they can take part in an election to decide who should become the first mayor for York and North Yorkshire.

The electorate will go to the polls on Thursday, May 2, to appoint the political figurehead for York and North Yorkshire to bring more decision-making powers and millions of pounds in funding to the region.

The mayor will oversee the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, which launched on February 1, to introduce benefits ranging from new and better-paid jobs and improved skills and training to more affordable housing.

The deadline to register to vote for anyone who is not already on the electoral register is looming later this month at midnight on Tuesday, April 16, and people are being asked to ensure that they will be able to take part in the election.

Registering to vote also provides benefits as it can help in situations where a credit check is needed, such as securing a mortgage, buying a car or getting a mobile phone contract. That is because banks and other lenders that check credit scores look through the electoral roll.

North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council will be running the election in the two local authority areas. The result will be announced in Harrogate once votes have been counted on Friday, May 3, the day after the actual election.

North Yorkshire Council’s chief executive, Richard Flinton, will be the combined authority’s returning officer as well as the local returning officer for North Yorkshire for the election.

He said: “This will be a milestone for all of us in our region to decide on who should take on this very significant role to bring a host of benefits to hundreds of thousands of residents and business across York and North Yorkshire.

“I would urge people to make sure that they are registered to vote to take part in the election on May 2. People do still have time to register, though, to make sure that they are able to go to the polls.”

City of York Council’s chief operating officer, Ian Floyd, is the local returning officer for the city.

He said: “Making sure you vote in elections is fundamental to our democracy and is part of your rights as a citizen. Voting for this, the first mayor for the region, matters because the role will have a significant impact across York and North Yorkshire. Please make sure you are able to take part in this, and every election, and are registered to vote on May 2.”

Alongside the deadline to register to vote by midnight on Tuesday, April 16, anyone wishing to vote by post needs to register by 5pm on Wednesday, April 17. To vote in person, people will need to bring a photo identification. Anyone without a suitable photo ID can apply for a free voter authority certificate before 5pm on Wednesday, April 24.

Details of the candidates standing in the election will be outlined in a booklet that legally has to be sent in April to the homes of everyone who is registered to vote in York and North Yorkshire.

The mayor, who will serve a four-year term, will develop close links with the Government to secure more funding and decision-making powers as the devolution deal evolves. The deal includes an investment fund totalling £540 million over a 30-year term, which provides flexibility to target money to specific schemes on a more local level.

The mayor will continue work that is already under way on projects including £12.7 million to deliver 700 new homes on brownfield sites and a further £10 million to support the transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs.

The mayor will also take on the responsibilities of the police, fire and crime commissioner for York and North Yorkshire. The commissioner is responsible for holding the chief constable as well as the chief fire officer to account and ensuring their services are efficient and effective.

The commissioner sets policing and crime priorities and oversees the police budget. The commissioner also supports community safety activities and provides victims of crime with a range of services, as well as setting priorities in the fire and rescue plan and overseeing the brigade’s budget.

More information is available at www.northyorks.gov.uk/mayoralelection and at www.york.gov.uk/elections online.