LOCAL elections are taking place across the UK, including for nine district, borough and unitary councils in Essex.
The vote will take place on Thursday May 5 between 7am-10pm, with the most common way of voting being to travel to your nearest polling station.
But you don’t have to vote in person. Many people choose to vote by post, ahead of the day of the election.
Postal voting can be easier than voting in person, for example you may find it helpful if you will be away from your address on election day or if you are a person with disabilities who has difficulty getting into some polling stations.
To vote by post you will be sent a postal ballot ahead of polling day, which you then mark with your vote and send back, following the instructions that are included.
However, you need to register before the deadline in order to receive this.
To vote by post, your local Electoral Registration Office must receive your postal vote application by 5pm on Tuesday April 19
When you go to register to vote normally, which you must do before 11.59pm on April 14, you will be asked if you want to be sent a postal application form.
This can be emailed or posted to you. You must then fill this out and return it before 5pm on Tuesday April 19.
It usually takes about five minutes to register to vote, and you can do it by visiting the government website: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
If you have already registered to vote, you can also find postal application forms here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote
Once your application form has been received by the electoral registration office, you will then be sent a postal ballot.
Fill this out and return it, making sure you carefully follow the instructions so your vote will still be valid.
When you complete your ballot paper, do it alone and in secret.
Take your ballot paper to the post box yourself, as soon as you are ready to do so.
Postal votes must be received by your local council’s elections team by 10pm on polling day
This means you should post it at least one day before the election, preferably more.
According to the government website, if you are too late then you can take it to your local polling station by 10pm on election day, or Electoral Registration Office before they close.
In Essex, there are elections taking place in Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Colchester, Epping Forest, Harlow, Rochford, Southend-On-Sea and Thurrock.