Elections and voting

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What elections/referendums are taking place in 2017?

Local Referendum

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is holding a local referendum on the frequency of the council's elections.

The question being asked is 'Should the council change its election cycle to whole council elections every four years or retain the existing system of election by thirds?'

Election by thirds
Currently the council holds 'elections by thirds' which means elections are held for approximately a third of all seats each year for three successive years out of four. This
means that those electors who live in a ward supported by three Councillors will vote in elections in all three years. Those with two Councillors will only vote in two of the four years and Fleggburgh ward will only vote once as they have only one Councillor. Great Yarmouth Borough Council has 39 councillors representing 17 wards. Each ward is represented by up to three councillors and each councillor is elected for a four year term of office.

Reasons to keep elections by thirds
• Elections in three years out of every four provide more frequent opportunity for electors to vote and to influence the political make-up of the Council
• Electing by thirds means there is more continuity of councillors without any chance of them all being replaced in a single election
• An election by thirds provides a regular influx of newly elected councillors who can bring new ideas and fresh approaches to the Council
• More frequent elections help to keep voters engaged
• Elections in three years out of every four provide more frequent opportunity for electors to vote and to influence the political make-up of the Council
• Electing by thirds means there is more continuity of councillors without any chance of them all being replaced in a single election
• An election by thirds provides a regular influx of newly elected councillors who can bring new ideas and fresh approaches to the Council
• More frequent elections help to keep voters engaged

Whole council elections
Under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, the Council has the power to change its electoral arrangements to 'whole council elections' which would mean that all seats on the Council would be elected at the same time, once every four years.

Reasons to change to whole council elections
• A clear mandate from the electorate once every four years would enable the Council to adopt a more strategic long term approach to policy and decision making and focus less on yearly election campaigning
• The results from whole council elections are simpler and more easily understood by the electorate
• Potential to increase turnout at local election
• There would be a clearer opportunity for the electorate to change the political composition of the council once every four years
• Whole council elections would enable comprehensive induction and training for all Councillors at the commencement of the four year cycle
• Holding whole council elections once every four years would result in a £120,000 saving per election cycle

Cost of annual elections  (three out of four years)          Cost of whole council elections once every four years                                           

Total approx cost per year £80,000 

Total cost of 3 elections £80,000 x 3 = £240,000

Total approx cost - £120,000
 Saving £120,000

This referendum will be conducted entirely by post and eligible residents will receive their postal ballot pack by 4 September. To be eligible to vote you will need to be a local government elector for the borough of Great Yarmouth on the 1 September 2017. If you are not currently registered the closing date for applications is 10 August 2017. Please go to register to vote at the gov.uk website to complete an application.  

A copy of the letter being sent with the ballot packs can be found pdf icon here [738kb] and explains the choice in more detail.

Completed ballot packs need to be received by 5pm Thursday 28 September 2017 to Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Town Hall, Great Yarmouth NR30 2QF.

The pdf icon Notice of Local referendum [15kb] is published with effect from 31 July 2017.

If you have any further questions or do not receive your ballot pack, please contact the Elections Team on 01493 846327 for more information.

UK Parliamentary Election

The last UK Parliamentary Election was held on Thursday 8 June 2017 and the results can be found here.

Norfolk County Council Elections

The elections for Norfolk County Council were held on Thursday, 4 May 2017. The results for all of the Great Yarmouth divisions can be found here.

The Returning Officer for this election is Chris Walton of Norfolk County Council; the results for all of the divisions with Norfolk is available on Norfolk County Council - Elections 2017.

Am I eligible to vote?

To vote you must be:

  • On the electoral register
  • At least 18 years old
  • A British, Commonwealth or Irish citizen

European Union citizens can only vote in European and local elections. Overseas electors can only vote in parliamentary elections.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote at the gov.uk website. We will send you a letter to confirm you have been added to the electoral register. You will need to register again if you move home or change your name.         

Where can I vote?

You can visit pdf icon one of our polling stations [21kb] - you do not need to bring your poll card with you. Polling stations are open 7am to 10pm.

If you are unable to get to a polling station, you can vote by post. Contact our electoral team to apply for a postal vote. You should also contact us if you want to apply for a proxy vote. The person you wish to appoint as your proxy must be at least 18 years old and be (or will be) registered individually for that election or referendum.

How is the Borough divided up?

39 borough councillors represent 17 electoral wards and nine county councillors represent nine county divisions. The elected councillors serve for four years.

The parliamentary constituency covers the same area as the Borough boundary and one Member of Parliament represents the Great Yarmouth constituency.

What is the difference between the electoral register and the open register?

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone registered to vote. It is used for elections and for lawful purposes, like detecting crime or calling people for jury service.

The open register is not used for elections. Any company or organisation can buy it to confirm names and addresses - yours will appear unless you contact us and ask us to remove it.

What are your views on the proposals in the Parliamentary Constituency Boundary Review?

As a result of the consultation on the initial proposals which ended in December 2016, the Boundary Commission for England has received nearly 20,000 responses.

The next stage of the review is to publish these representations to enable others to comment on them. These comments can be received up until Monday 27 March 2017. If after this time the Commission decides to revise any proposals then a further consultation period will follow. It is expected that any such consultation will happen towards the end of 2017 or early 2018.

The initial proposals are:

Please visit www.bce2018.org.uk to view the representations and to give the Commission your comments.

What is the Annual check of the Electoral Register?

Household Enquiry Form

Residents of the borough will begin to receive household enquiry forms from 31 July 2017. These forms are an annual check to ensure the information we hold on the Electoral register is correct and up to date.  

If the details are the same please respond by using any of the following methods :

  • online via the electoral register response system or
  • telephoning 0808 2841487 or
  • texting 07786209387 or
  • signing the form and returning it to us in the free post envelope provided.

You will need the two part security code which can be found inside the form that has been sent to you.

If the details are incorrect or new residents need to be added please respond by using the following methods:

Please note if your details are new to the property further information is required before you will be registered on the Electoral Register. Please go to register to vote at the gov.uk website to complete the registration process

 

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