Published: April 4, 2024 by mbelfield

If you live in the UK, it is very likely that you will have seen information about registering to vote in upcoming elections this year, and possibly LGBT Foundation’s own Vote with Pride resource. While that information is vital to understand the process of voting – including matters such as the registration processes, voter ID, and different ways to vote – it is also important to understand the power of your vote. 

According to the 2021 Census, England & Wales has more than 1.5 million LGBTQ+ people living in its borders, a number that is bigger than the current NHS workforce or the total number of people to have ever run the London Marathon. The voting power of every single LGBTQ+ adult matters. 

The LGBTQ+ population of the UK is particularly invested in some major issues that affect our lives, whether they be direct impacts on our experiences as queer people or broader impacts on how we live in this country. Apart from being interested in LGBTQ+ equality, a survey that LGBT Foundation is still conducting has already found voter interest in a wide range of issues, including (but not limited to): 

We want to give you a brief overview of how these issues are affected at various levels of government and decision-making, so voters can have the best information about their choices. Remember, not all issues are affected equally at all levels of government, so it is crucial to understand the difference your vote can make at each level. 

General Election 

This is the most commonly understood election in the UK and the one that tends to have the highest voter turnout. Voters choose the MP who will represent their constituency in the House of Commons in Westminster, and the party with the most MPs (usually more than half of the membership of the House of Commons) will form the UK Government. By voting in the General Election, you can impact the following: 

Local Elections 

Held every 2-4 years (depending on the relevant local authority), these elections determine who will run your council. Voters elect councillors who sit on city or borough councils, and this means that they take a more localised and ground-level view of issues compared to MPs in Westminster. Some local elections also see votes cast for mayors and for police and crime commissioners, though this does not happen at every local authority – so remember to check who you will be voting for this year! By voting in the local elections, you can impact who is responsible for the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of local areas. This can include: 

Depending on your local authority, this is determined by a combination of a city/borough council and a mayor, unless your authority does not have a mayor. 

While it might feel like one individual vote might not matter in the bigger picture, you should always remember that you have the power to influence change in meaningful ways. Voting is one of those methods. So don’t lose out on your chance to have a say. #VoteWithPride 

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