WITH local and European elections now less than a month away Stroud District Council is urging residents to make sure they are ready to cast their votes.

Whilst polling cards have been sent to almost 90,000 of the district’s registered voters over the past few weeks, the council is keen to ensure that anyone entitled to vote does not miss out.

Elections for Stroud District Council, local parish and town councils and European Parliament are all taking place on Thursday, May 22.

Eighteen district council seats will be contested this year, as well as seats in some parish and town councils.

Residents in the Five Valleys will also have the opportunity to cast their vote for the six European Parliament seats which are up for grabs in the south west region.

The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, May 6.

Residents can request a registration form by calling the SDC elections office on 01453 754886 or by printing off a registration form at www.stroud.gov.uk/elections.

The deadline for postal vote applications, or to amend a postal vote, is 5pm on Wednesday, May 7.

Then on Friday, May 9 postal voting papers will be sent out to everyone who has requested this option.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote, which is having someone place a vote on your behalf, is a week later, at 5pm on Wednesday, May 14.

Forms can be downloaded from www.stroud.gov.uk/elections or can be obtained by calling the elections office.

David Hagg, SDC's chief executive and returning officer for the local elections and local returning officer for the European Parliament elections, said: "If you have just moved into the district or moved house within the district please do remember to register. It is not too late."

"With the May Day bank holiday coming up just before the registration deadline I would urge people to register sooner rather than later as we are always inundated with last minute requests.

"You can't vote if you're not registered and contrary to what some people believe you won't be automatically registered if you pay council tax.

"We urge all residents to ensure they are on the electoral roll as soon as possible in order to avoid any disappointment."

Anyone who is unsure if they are registered to vote should call the elections team on 01453 754886 or email elections@stroud.gov.uk

The wards in the SNJ's circulation include Bisley, Cainscross, Central, Chalford, Hardwicke, Nailsworth, Painswick, Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe, Severn, Stonehouse and the Stanleys.

Vacant seats on town and parish council's in the area include Bisley, Chalford, Frampton-on-Severn, Hardwicke, Nympsfield, Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe and Whitminster.

To keep people informed, the SNJ will be publishing the manifestos of the parties contesting for the south west region in the European elections on Wednesday, May 7, with a round-up of the parties' manifestos for the district council elections coming out on our May 14 issue.

Go to the Elections 2014 section of the SNJ website to see a full list of candidates.