How do the Sheffield Local Elections work and how can you vote?

Lost amongst the never-ending Brexit debate, it’s easy to forget that local elections will be taking place across the United Kingdom tomorrow.

Unlike many local councils who hold elections yearly or every two years, Sheffield vote in their councillors in thirds. But how does it work and what do voters need to know?

Voting in thirds

Before 1974, councillors were voted in by thirds annually for a three-year term, with the Alderman (a position just below the Mayor) elected by the body of councillors every three years.

Aldermen were then abolished, with local elections being held on a four-year cycle. The current system sees an election conducted every year for three years and then no election in the fourth year.

Based on 2018 results, some of the key battlegrounds will be in the City, Mosborough and Gleadless Valley wards.

How can you vote?

Alex Lee – Wikimedia

Voting in person

The simplest option. Simply go to your nearest polling station and cast your vote for your preferred candidate. It is important to note that you must have registered to vote before turning up.

If there is a local election taking place in your area, you should have received a polling card with the address of your nearest polling station.

You should take this with you when you go to vote, but in most places you don’t need it to vote – do if you’v lost it, don’t panic.

If you need any help with the voting process on the day, you can ask the staff on hand and they will help you as much as possible.

The full list of polling stations can be found here.

Proxy vote

A proxy vote can be used when you nominate someone else to vote on your behalf. You may choose this option if you are unable to get to the polling station on election day.

Anyone over the age of 18 can be a proxy, as long as they are eligible to vote in the election and are willing to vote on your behalf. Your proxy must be able to vote for you at your specified polling station. However, if this is not possible they may want to apply to vote for you by post.

You can apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on polling day.

You can download an application to vote by proxy from the Electoral Commission’s Your Vote Matters here.

Postal voting

A postal vote allows you to cast your ballot via the post rather than going to the polling station. Postal votes are available on demand and you can choose how long you want a postal vote for.

Postal votes are usually issued one to two weeks before an election, but if you’ve forgotten to send it off, you can take it down to the polling station on the day.

What times does polling open?

Polls will open at 7am tomorrow morning and close at 10pm.

When are local election results announced?

Robin Stott – Geograph

Results are usually announced overnight, starting at around midnight. However this year in Sheffield, the count won’t start until Friday morning at 9am, so you might have to wait a while before you found out who has won in your area.

In Barnsley, votes are being counted overnight, from 10pm onwards, and the first results are expected at midnight.