Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022: when is vote on Bristol City Council, how to register, and postal vote deadline

A decision on how residents would like Bristol City Council to be run is set to be made in the next 24 hours - here is how you can make your voice heard at this year’s referendum.

Local referendums are the perfect opportunities for the general public to make their opinions known in order to shape the future of their communities.

They might not be as mainstream or widely-popular as the general elections, but are still instrumental in highlighting how residents would like local issues to be managed.

The locality of Bristol and its surrounding area have an incredibly significant vote approaching quickly - so here is everything you need to know about the Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022.

What is the Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022?

Council elections take place next month

At a meeting held on December 7 2021, it was decided that Bristol City Council would hold a referendum relating to the governance arrangements for Bristol City Council.

In what could influence a huge shift within the politics of the city, this year’s referendum will ask Bristol residents this simple question: “How would you like Bristol City Council to be run?”.

Voters will have two options to choose from:

  • Mayor and Cabinet model of governance (how the council is currently run)
  • Committee model of governance 

The referendum will follow the same conduct of the local council elections that will be conducted across the rest of England.

When is the Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022?

The Bristol Mayor Referendum is set to take place on Thursday, 5 May 2022.

The poll for the referendum will be held from 7 am to 10 pm.

How to make sure you are eligible to vote?

Stock ballot box image

Anyone can vote in the Bristol Mayor Referendum providing they are registered and 18-years-old or older on polling day.

If you find that you are eligible to vote for the Referendum in 2022 but are yet to officially register with your local council, you must do so through the government’s official website.

However, if you are unsure as to what local council you qualify for, enter your postcode on the government finder here.

After registering, you should receive a polling card which will hold all the necessary information that you need in order to vote.

The last day to register is April 14.

Can I vote in the Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022 by postal or proxy vote?

If for whatever reason you are unable to vote at the local elections in person, you can do so via post.

As long as you are registered to vote, you will be able to apply for a postal vote by submitting an application online through the government website.

In order to be eligible to vote in the Bristol referendum, it must be submitted and received by your local Electoral Registration Office before 5 pm on April 19.

You will also have the opportunity to vote by proxy - which is when you get someone else to vote on your behalf if you can not get to a polling station on polling day.

A proxy vote can be completed by another individual in-person or via post.

You must submit an application for a proxy vote - but ensure that both you and your proxy are registered voters in the Bristol area.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5 pm on Tuesday, April 26.

You can also apply for an emergency proxy if you are unable to vote during the Bristol Mayor Referendum because of a work or medical emergency - for more information about applying and to find out if you might be eligible, visit the council website.

What are the key dates for the Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022?

The key dates of the Bristol Mayor Referendum are as follows:

  • Thursday, April 14 2022 (5 pm) - Deadline to register to vote
  • Thursday, April 26 2022 (5 pm) - Deadline to apply for a proxy vote
  • Tuesday, April 19 2022 (5 pm) - Deadline to apply for postal vote or to change an existing postal vote
  • Monday, April 11 2022 - Existing postal voters and new postal vote applications received before Friday, April 1 will be posted
  • Monday, April 25 2022 - Applications received between Saturday, April 2 and the deadline of 5 pm on Tuesday, April 19 will be posted
  • Thursday, April 28 2022 - If you have not received your postal vote by then, please contact the council at 0117 92 23400
  • Thursday, May 5 2022 - Polling day; make sure postal votes are returned by 10 pm 

What will residents decide between in the Bristol Mayor Referendum 2022?

As mentioned beforehand, voters will choose between two different ways that Bristol City Council can be run - ‘Mayoral and Cabinet’ or ‘Committee’.

What is a Mayoral and Cabinet governance system?

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees at full council meeting on Tuesday, February 15.

This is a system currently in place at Bristol City Council, with current Mayor Marvin Rees presiding over the community since he was elected in 2016.

The Mayor of Bristol is directly elected by the people of Bristol, who in-turn will lead the council and its councillors to provide services to the locality.

Elections for Mayor take place every four years - the last one was in May 2021.

What is a Committee governance system?

This system involves a Full Council of 70 elected councillors.

The main features of the Committee model for governance of Bristol are:

  • A Full Council that will act as a strategic decision making body of Bristol City Council - required by law to make certain decisions itself but will mainly delegate powers to committees of councillors or officers
  • Establishing a number of committees  with responsibilities for major policy and service areas - i.e Finance and Performance, Adult Social Care, Education
  • The Authority will also establish regulatory committees such as planning, licensing and human resources