In six days time (Thursday, may 3) people across the UK will go to the polls to elect many of the nation’s local authorities. West Dunbartonshire is one of Scotland’s most hotly-contested Councils, with both the SNP and Labour vying for control.
As polling day approaches, Council officers are reminding people of the importance local government has on everyday life and urging them to cast their vote.
Joyce White, the Council’s chief executive, is also serving as the returning officer for West Dunbartonshire. She said: “People tend to vote in larger numbers at the General Election but decisions taken by your local Council and Councillor will probably have a far greater influence on your day to day lives.
“If you care about where your child goes to school, that your street is kept free from litter or that potholes are repaired quickly, then you should care about the Council elections. We expect thousands of people to come out to vote on May 3 to make their voice heard and what I’d say to our residents is don’t be the odd one out, get along to the polling station and vote.”
Next week’s election will decide who is in charge of the Council’s £238 million budget. Local councillors are also able to influence key services, including education, roads, waste, social work, housing, parks and economic regeneration.
Election officials are also reminding voters that they will need to make their preferences on ballot papers using numbers and not an ‘X’. Scotland’s Council elections use a form of proportional representation known as the ‘Single Transferable Vote, where voters rank the candidates in their order of preference.
Andrew Fraser, the depute returning officer for West Dunbartonshire, said: “We know how important voting is to our residents so we really want to ensure that every ballot paper can be included in the count.
“Voters just need to remember to use numbers on their ballot paper. Even if they don’t want to number all the candidates involved, they will need to have at least one number ‘1’ for their vote to count.”
A video explaining how to use the voting system has been produced by the electoral commission. It can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
West Dunbartonshire Council has printed more than 66,000 ballot papers, issued over 8,000 postal ballot packs and trained 184 polling station staff to ensure all registered voters can have their say. In addition more than 60 staff will be involved at the count on May 4, when the results will be announced.