Thursday, May 02, 2019

Polling stations are now open in the local elections

Polls are now open in the local elections in England and Northern Ireland to determine who will run local services for the next four years.

Elections are being held in 248 English councils for local councillors: six of them including Copeland are also electing a mayor. There are also elections for all 11 councils in Northern Ireland.

If you are a registered voter in one of those authorities, except in a small minority of wards where the election was not contested, you can vote for local councillors to represent you between 7am and 10pm this evening. 

If you have a postal vote but have not yet cast it you can complete it and hand it in at a polling station for the same authority up to 10pm. 

You do not need your polling card to vote but if you do not have it with you it might be useful to bring some other form of ID to the polling station.

In the mayoral election -

this is an unusual form of election for Britain, a sort of "AV-lite" only used to elect mayors and Police and Crime commissioners.

You have a first and second preference vote. the first preference vote has to be cast in the LEFT HAND COLUMN of boxes or your entire vote is spoilt.

A number of people lost their vote four years ago because they only cast one vote and put it in the right hand column of boxes. If you do that you have expressed a second preference vote only and without a first preference vote your ballot will not be counted. 

If any candidate gets more than half of the first preference votes they win and are elected on the first round and there is no second round.

If no candidate gets more than half the votes on the first round, then the two candidates with most first preference votes go forward to the second round and all candidates placed third or with lower support than that are eliminated.

In the second and final round, the remaining candidates keep all the votes they received in the first round, and the second preference votes of those candidates who have already lost are then counted, and second preference votes from electors who supported candidates eliminated in the first round for either of the two remaining candidates will be added to their respective totals.

It is worth pointing out that your first preference vote will remain in the pile for the candidate whose name you mark a cross against in the left hand column for as long as they are in the race - it can only go to someone else after your first choice candidate loses.

Therefore expressing a second preference (which you do not have to do) cannot harm your first choice candidate's chances of election.

So, supposing you wanted to support Conservative candidate Ged McGrath as your first choice candidate, you would put a cross in the box against his name in the first, left hand column of boxes, and if of the other candidates your second choice was Mike Starkie (Independent) you would but a cross against his name in the second, right hand  column of boxes.
It is only 

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