If you’ve ever walked out of your house and got annoyed about the state of your street, if you’ve driven into a pothole and sworn loudly, or been annoyed that your leisure centre isn’t up to scratch, then election day is for you.
If you’ve seen a loved one not get the care you think they should from social services, or walked past that new-build house and wondered just how it was allowed to happen, the ballot box is waiting for you. If you saw how Covid was handled in your local area and thought it was anything from terrible to great, this is for you. If second homes are the blight of your village, new-builds are the eyesore of your city, or you can see culture disappearing from the streets around you, make your voice heard.
If you have opinions on bins, libraries, taxis, roads, traffic or schools then this is the election for you. Across Wales today 1,234 councillors will be formally elected to represent every one of us. It’s not always glamorous or eye-catching but the things they decide are important to the way you live every day. They have power over an awful lot of services and an awful lot of money. In 2021-22 the Welsh Government gave councils £4.65bn. Councils made a lot of the decisions about coronavirus and how it was handled and council staff were on the frontline.
All across Wales today polling stations will be open for you to cast your vote and we cannot urge you enough to do so. They are open from 7am until 10pm so you can go before, after, or during work. If you are 16 or 17 and registered to vote today could be your first day.
All the following things are true; people died for your right to vote, not everyone in the world has the right and it’s a luxury they would love to have. But you know all that and yet we know it’s really easy to feel there’s no point. After all, can you even name your local councillor? Did you message them once and they didn’t reply so you don’t see why it’s worth your time? We get it. If you’re more concerned about world matters like the horrific war in Ukraine, or things like feeding or clothing your kids, we get it. If you are fed up of elections, we get it.
But this matters. You can vote the red of Labour, Tory blue, or for Plaid or the Lib Dems or Greens. There will be independent candidates who aren’t affiliated to a political party, or even an alliance like in Cardiff where you’re voting for Plaid and the Greens who are a joint ticket. Whoever you vote for, just vote. It’s important because these people are elected, and paid, to make decisions that benefit you.
If you think the people who are power now haven’t done a good job, tell them via your vote. If you want to see how someone else would run services or spend money, give them a chance.
If you think you haven’t been informed enough then spend some time today looking at your candidates’ social media, retrieve those leaflets that came through the door, or take a look at the content we’ve run throughout the campaign. But please vote – having the chance is a privilege that none of us should take for granted.