It’s time to cast your vote for free speech as Wigan Borough gets ready for this year’s Local Democracy Week.
The annual event begins on Monday October 15 as residents are encouraged to find out more about the work of the council and take a more active role in their local communities – and for one lucky school pupil, there’s even a chance to become Mayor for the day!
Wigan Council’s chief executive Donna Hall is also the Returning Officer for the borough, responsible for officiating at local and general elections.
Ms Hall says: “The right to choose your elected leaders is something people have fought for and which I believe is an essential part of our society. Not only do I want people to find out more about democracy and voting, but also I’d encourage everyone to ensure they are on the Electoral Roll.”
Residents must be on the register in order to vote and officers are reminding the public that paying council tax does not automatically register you to vote. But not being on the electoral register may have an effect on wider issues, such as people’s ability to obtain credit.
The Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Smith, is holding a second ‘Leader Listens’ session at the town hall during the week. Anyone can book to speak to Cllr Smith at the Wigan Life Centre from 4.30pm on Thursday 18th October by calling Paula Clisham on 01942 827282.
Lord Smith says: “It’s crucial that residents have the opportunity to put their questions and their concerns to those who hold positions of responsibility, those whose decisions can have a profound effect of the lives of all local people. These sessions give local people that access.”
And one lucky teenager will find out what it’s like to be mayor. Someone from a local school or youth group will be elected ‘Mayor for the Day'. That person will get to go out and about in the borough alongside the temporarily ‘demoted’ Cllr Myra Whiteside, as she attends her regular duties as First Citizen, representing the interests of Wigan Borough to residents, businesses and local groups.
Residents following social media can also look out for a message about democracy and voting each day next from the council on Twitter (external link)
With the first ever elections to the Police Commission coming in November, it’s more important than ever to have a vote and use it wisely. The deadline for submitting an application to register is 5pm on 31 October. For more information on the electoral register, please call the helpline on 01942 827168 or to download application forms or apply for a postal vote, go to the council's democracy webpages.