The Government launched this initiative as part of the ongoing goal to ensure that every member of our community has an equal chance to participate in our democracy and to have their say.
We all have a responsibility to work together to help make this happen, regardless of who we are or where we are from.
The official dates for the first National Democracy Week are 2-8 July 2018. The week was chosen because it marks the 90th anniversary of the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928, which gave women a truly equal right to vote.
A range of local events and activities have been organised by the Council and its partners, which take place before and after the official week. There are also a number of national initiatives.
All of them are aimed at inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in democracy, so you should be able to find one that interests you.
● ‘Your vote matters. Don’t lose it!’ – voting in elections is one of the most important ways to make yourself heard, so the Council is encouraging people to make sure they are registered to vote.
If you are not on the Voting (Electoral) Register you cannot vote, and it may negatively affect your credit rating. It’s easy to apply to get added to the Register, as this can be done online and only takes a few minutes. (You willneed your national insurance number and date of birth).
● ‘Meet the Mayor’ and ‘Town Hall tours’ – the Mayor will be a hosting a ‘Democracy Week’ themed Citizenship Ceremony and welcoming a number of different groups to the Town Hall to enjoy a fun tour, whilst finding out about finding out about its interesting past and present uses; some of the borough’s famous citizens; and the role of the Mayor and local councillors.
If you are interested in bringing a group to the Town Hall, or joining another group visiting the Town Hall, please contact the Mayor’s Office.
● ‘Little voters become big voters’ – the Council is offering to support school council / student voice elections by providing ballot boxes, polling screens and assemblies – to promote the importance of voting, being on the register, the role of school councillors, and active citizenship within their school community.
● ‘Getting Heard’ workshops – the Council is offering these interactive workshops to community and voluntary groups to increase their knowledge, confidence and understanding of how to register to vote, vote and get involved in local decision making.
● UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make your mark’ Ballot – the Council is working in partnership with Stockton Youth Assembly (SYA) and the MYP, Maisie Best, to promote this opportunity for local young people aged 11-18 to make themselves heard by participating in this national campaign.
They vote for the issues that matter most to them. The issues with the most votes will then be debated and voted on by Members of the UK Youth Parliament in November 2018 at the House of Commons to decide which one will be their main campaign for 2019.
Schools and colleges will be offered the loan of ballot boxes and voting screens to create their own polling stations. The top local issues could be taken up by Stockton Youth Assembly.
● ‘Stand for what you believe in – Be a Councillor’ – is part of a national campaign by the Local Government Association (LGA) to raise awareness about therole of local councillors and the opportunity to stand as a candidate in future elections.
The Council is publicising the ‘Stand for what you believe in’ campaign across the borough up until the local elections in May 2019. The publicity features existing Councillors to promote the key message that ‘Councillors are ordinary people like you, so you could become one too!’
The Council is holding two ‘Be a Councillor’ information events in September, so if you know someone who may be interested in finding out about becoming a councillor, please pass on this information.
● National ‘Suffrage Centenary’initiatives – 2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed a law which allowed the first women, and all men, to vote for the first time. Celebrate this milestone by getting involved with parliament’s ‘Vote 100’campaign.
Lots of exciting activities are happening, including a major exhibition, talks and tours, plus events around the UK. There are activities for individuals, voluntary and community groups; schools, colleges and youth organisations. Follow #Vote100 on Twitter to keep up to date.
For more information, please contact our Democratic Engagement Officer on 01642 526185.
i) the House of Commons
ii) the House of Lords
iii) voter registration
iv) elections and voting