Anyone not registered to vote in next month’s local elections in the UK has just a few hours left to register, with signs of belated interest.
More than 8,000 council seats in the UK will be contested on 4 May across 230 local governments, from small rural areas to some of the largest towns and cities.
Polls are also underway to choose mayors in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.
Those who are not registered to vote or are unsure if they are eligible, have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 17 to apply.
This can be done online at gov.uk/registertovote.
Voters will also need to ensure they have a form of photo identification in order to cast their ballots, a first required in the UK.
An average of 20,977 ballot applications were made each day of the week to April 16, up from 16,194 the previous week, Government figures show.
There were 20,656 applications on Sunday, although the number is usually lower on weekends.
About 26,567 applications were made on Friday, the highest one-day level so far this year.
Ailsa Irvine, the electoral commission’s administrative director, told the PA news agency: “Anyone who wants to take part in the May election needs to be registered to vote by midnight tonight.
“If you haven’t registered before, or just moved or changed your details, you’ll need to apply to apply today. It only takes five minutes and can be done online.
“If you want to make sure your voice is heard and you are not registered, go to www.gov.uk/registertovote and register now.
“Anyone wishing to register to vote by mail must submit an application to the local council by 5pm tomorrow.”
Voters planning to vote in the May election will not only need to register but also present a form of photo identification at the polling station.
Not all photo IDs are accepted, but a passport, driver’s license or green badge are all valid.
Anyone without the correct identification will have to apply for a certificate of voter rights by April 25, which can be done online at gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority- certificate.
The Government’s introduction of mandatory photo identification has been deemed “expensive” and “unnecessary” by Labor and has raised concern among electoral reform campaigners, who say that may make it harder for some voters to vote.
The Local Government Association has voiced concern that election officials will be “overwhelmed” on polling day as they grapple with “the biggest change to in-person voting in 150 years.” .
The election commission said additional staff would be deployed at some polling stations to make sure voters are aware of the new rules and to help manage any long lines.
There have been 65,293 online applications for a certificate of voter rights (VAC) since the program opened on January 16 of this year.
The average number of VAC applications per day was 1,595 in the week to April 16, up from 922 the week before.
About 2,627 applications were submitted on April 14, the highest number in a single day to date.
Just 6% of VAC applications came from people under the age of 25, while 3% came from people aged 75 and over, according to analysis of Government data by the PA news agency.
Applications aged 55 to 64 accounted for nearly a third (32%) of the total, followed by 45 to 54 years (23%), 35 to 44 years (16%), 65 to 74 years (10%) and 25 to 34 years old (10%).
Not all regions of England are holding local elections this year.
There are no competitions in London and Birmingham, along with other areas including Cornwall, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.
Local elections in Northern Ireland have been pushed back two weeks to May 18, to avoid conflict with the King’s coronation on May 6.
The counting of votes in Northern Ireland usually takes several days to complete, due to the voting system used for council elections, whereby voters rank candidates in order of preference.
There are no elections in Scotland and Wales this year.