Local Elections 2023

Important Dates and more…

Don’t forget the new rules, you will need to provide ID when you go to vote.

Bedford Borough will have a local election on Thursday 4 May 2023 for:

  • Mayor of Bedford Borough
  • Borough Councillors
  • Parish Councils

The last local elections were held in 2019.

Local Mayoral election

Bedford Borough Council is one of 16 councils in the country to have a directly elected Mayor.

Previously, local mayoral elections used the Supplementary Vote system, where voters would choose a first and second choice. The Elections Act 2022, has changed this and now the voters will be counted using the First Past the Post system – the same used for UK Parliamentary and local elections.

Borough Council elections

In February 2023, new boundaries and wards were adopted by Bedford Borough Council. There are 46 elected Borough Councillors each representing 1 of 28 Wards within the Bedford Borough area.

Electors vote for the candidates who are standing for the Ward where they are registered to vote.

Parish Council Elections

Parish Council elections are held every four years, and coincide with both the Mayoral and Borough Council Elections.

Parish Councils primarily comprise of the villages in the area, but can also be large areas such as Brickhill and Kempston Town.

Working on the elections

The Returning Officer is responsible for ensuring Polling Stations are staffed, and there are people to verify and count the votes once the polls close. If you are interested in working on the elections, please contact the Elections Team.

Standing as a candidate

If you wish to stand as a candidate in any of the above elections, full guidance is available on the Electoral Commission’s website

The guidance covers candidate eligibility, how to stand, candidates expenditure, the campaign, your rights as a candidate and what to do after the declaration of results of poll.

Become a councillor

If you are Interested in Becoming a Councillor briefing sessions for candidates and agents will be held on various dates via Teams.

If you wish to attend, please register your interest by emailing elections@bedford.gov.uk and provide your full name, which election you plan to stand as a candidate and whether you are standing as an independent or a political party candidate.

Nomination papers are available to download from the Electoral Commission website.

Key deadlines :

  • Nomination of candidates time period – from publication of the Notices of Election (district and parish) until 4pm on Tuesday 4 April 2023
  • Registration to vote deadline – 12 midnight on Monday 17 April 2023, go online to register to vote now (https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote )
  • Postal vote deadline – 5pm – Tuesday 18 April
  • Proxy vote deadline – 5pm – Tuesday 25 April

Poll cards

Poll cards will be sent to all registered electors as soon as possible after the Notices of Election have been published at the end of March.

If you have not received a card by 7 April it may mean you are not registered. If you have moved in early 2023 you need to have ensured you have re-registered at your new address. If you have not received a poll card, you need to contact Electoral Registration who can check if you are registered to vote at your current address.

The poll card will list the electoral areas – Mayoral, Ward and Parish Council, though not all areas will have parish elections as many parishes are likely to be uncontested and some borough wards do not have a parish. At the polling station and with postal votes, electors will be presented with one, two or three ballot papers – different colours. It will say how many votes you have on each ballot paper.

Postal Votes

Postal votes will be issued as soon as possible after the close of nominations to electors who already have a postal vote in place. These are sent by first class post. If you apply for a postal vote after 1st March, your postal vote will be issued after the last day to apply for a postal vote and final postal votes for new electors will be sent as soon as possible after Wednesday 26th April.

Proxy voting

If you have appointed a proxy to vote on your behalf (see here https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote ) at your allocated polling station, both you and your proxy will be sent a card.

The verification and counting of the votes will take place on Friday 5 May 2023 at the John Bunyan Sports Centre. Only staff appointed by the Returning Officer, candidates, candidates’ guests, election count agents and accredited media can attend the count.

Further information about elections

Please contact the Electoral Registration Team if you have any questions about the elections.

Tel: 01234 718078

Email: elections@bedford.gov.uk