Pets take a leading role in voter ID campaign

Published Friday 14 April 2023 at 15:01

Move over Susanna Reid and Dan Walker there’s two new, news hounders in town!

Meet the stars of our new video ‘Susanna Lead and Dan Walkies’ – ‘paw-moting’ new rules to ‘fetch’ photo ID to ‘pawlling’ stations this year.

Whilst dogs at polling stations is no new thing, these ‘paw-some’ pups have taken the ‘lead’ on a new tongue-in-cheek campaign to get chins-wagging about the new rules.

Inspired by Braintree Council’s ‘pawsome’ video , Blackburn with Darwen Council staff volunteered their pet pooches to be part of the video.

With a play on last year’s video ‘My First Time…Voting’ which featured well known faces including Apprentice star Camilla Ainsworth, comedian Tez Illyas and World Strongman Mark Felix, the script sees news anchor Dan Walkies remembering being ‘like a dog with a bone’ when it was his first time – voting, of course!

The video features Tiny the Pomeranian ‘paws-ing’ as our poll clerk, whilst Nyah, the cute Cockerpoo, ‘paw-forms’ as Susanna Lead, aka Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid.

And working cocker spaniel Bea becomes Dan Walkies, otherwise known as Dan Walker of 5News.

Liz Clarkson, who works as a Participation & Inclusion Manager in the Council’s Youth Services team, is the owner of Nyah who plays Susanna Lead. Liz said:

“Promoting democracy, no matter what age you are is really important and something Blackburn with Darwen’s Youth Forum and the Youth MP are passionate about.

“The dogs had the best time!”

Chief Executive Denise Park, who is also Returning Officer for Blackburn with Darwen, said:

“Our campaign aims to build awareness of the change amongst voters and remind them to bring photo ID on polling day.

“As part of our work to engage younger people to participate in democracy, students at Blackburn College told us to be creative with messaging. Working with dogs provided a perfect opportunity to do just that.

“Our staff’s star pets have done a brilliant job helping us remind people that they must bring photo ID to vote in this year’s elections.”

She added:

“May’s elections are fast approaching and it’s worth voters taking note of the changes and checking that they have appropriate photo ID now. That way, when polling day arrives, all they have to do is remember to bring it.

“Those who don’t have an accepted form of ID will be able to apply for free ID, known as a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). The deadline to apply for this is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.

“Also, you don’t need photo ID to vote by post. The deadline to apply for postal votes is 5pm on Tuesday 18 April.”

“We are doing everything we can so that nobody misses the opportunity to have their say.

“And don’t forget, you have until midnight on Monday 17 April to register to vote if you haven’t already. It can be done online and takes just five minutes.”

The Elections Team can also email applications forms for postal and proxy voting to you direct, just email:

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