May 4, 2011 8.28 pm This story is over 154 months old

Why you should vote in the local elections

Decision time: By casting your vote in the local elections, you can help shape decisions that affect the future of Lincoln.

Election fever hasn’t exactly gripped Lincoln in the run up to the City Council elections on May 5. You should go out of your way to catch the bug, though.

At a time when central government is cutting money to local governments across Britain — around £2 billion — your local representatives are making decisions about what services you’ll lose in your area.

City of Lincoln Council’s grant will decrease by 13.8% in 2011-2012, and by a further 10.5% in 2011-2012.

The City Council is responsible for a range of key services. These include street cleaning, bin collections and car parks.

Local elections are your chance to decide who makes the cuts, or ‘efficiency savings’, to these public services on your behalf.

As well as voting to ensure your views are represented, you should vote because it’s your duty as a citizen in a democracy.

Your vote has been hard won over the years, by people like the Chartists and Suffragettes. Across the world, citizens living under dictatorships crave the democratic rights we have in Britain.

Incidentally, there’s also a vote on how we can vote. The referendum on changing the electoral system for general elections from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote (AV) is on the same day. Find out how AV works.

So next time a candidate puts a leaflet through your door, you should read it. If they knock on your door, grill them. Ask the difficult questions.

When you have all the information you need, it’s time to make a decision. Just make sure you go out and vote on May 5 so that decision is heard.

— Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. Find your polling station.

Photo: Paul Albertella