Decisions are made on your behalf by local government every day, ranging from what building work is approved in your area and what recreational facilities you have, to national issues like roads, transport and education. Similarly, central government controls such issues as defence and the environment.
These decisions are made by people elected to represent you on local councils and in the UK and European Parliaments.
British citizens, citizens of the Commonwealth, British Overseas Territories, EU Members* and the Irish republic aged 18 and over can vote in the UK.
If you normally live in the UK you can still vote if you are temporarily away for work, hospital, studies or vacation for less than six months.
More information on who can vote can be found on GOV.UK's Voting in the UK page.
* Please note that EU Members can only vote in local elections and European elections.