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Absolutely everything you need to know about the May local elections in Kent

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Original article from Kent Live

Hundreds of local council seats are up for election across Kent in May.

The elections in Kent are part of the biggest set of local elections in the UK since 1973, making this one of the most significant local votes in British history.

The polls will open on May 6 when people will vote to fill 81 seats in Kent County Council.

These elections will decide who sits on the local councils. The councils provide many important services like social care for the vulnerable, collecting rubbish, and maintaining the roads.

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Medway Council, a separate entity to Kent County Council, is not holding any elections this year.

Depending on where you live, you may be asked to elect county councillors, district or borough councillors, a police and crime commissioner (PCC) or parish councillors.

Some district and borough councils (smaller than county or city councils) are also electing councillors.

Local councils are also responsible for deciding how much council tax we will all have to pay every year (within limits set by the central government).

Across the country around 28 million people will be able to vote in the local elections, filling about 4,650 different positions of power.

This year's set of local elections is so large because the COVID-19 pandemic delayed last year's vote, leading to the bumper polls we're facing on May 6.

You can vote in person at a polling station, by post or by proxy (nominating somebody to vote on your behalf).

The deadline to register to vote in person for this set of local elections was April 19. However, you can still register to vote by proxy until April 27 at 5pm.

Alongside elections for city and county councils, there will also be the chance to vote for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Kent Police.

Sussex will go to the polls on May 6

The PCC is responsible for setting the police budget, and deciding priorities for police in their area.

At KentLive, we've put together some handy tips and widgets to tell you everything you need to know for election day.

We have two widgets for you, which will list your candidates and polling stations close by – all you need to do is type in your postcode.

Who is running in my ward?

Across Kent there are hundreds of candidates running for elections in Kent County Council.

The widget above can show you the candidates for your local ward just by inputting your postcode.

When can I vote?

The local elections are being held on Thursday May 6 – just over two weeks from today.

Polling stations normally open from 7am until 10pm on the day of the election, but its important to check your local polling station in case their opening hours are different for any reason.

If you are voting by post, you should fill in the form and send it back as soon as possible. If you think you have left it too late, you can take your postal vote into a local polling station up until 10pm on election day and it will still be counted.

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Where can I vote?

You can check the widget above to see where your local polling station is. It will also tell you where to go on your polling card.

Social distancing will be in place for those voting in person and bringing your own pen along on voting day is encouraged.

Due to COVID-19 regulations, it's expected that the counting of votes will take longer than usual, so we may not know the results of the local elections straight away.

What will happen after I vote?

Unlike a General Election, result won't start to come in until the day after (May 7).

In council elections in England, the candidate with the most votes in their ward wins a seat on the council.

Each candidate will represent a party (Conservative, Labour etc). If one party wins more than half the council seats, they will have control of the council.

If no party has a majority, they will join up with another party in what is known as a coalition.

All of this will be decided the day after the voting takes place, assuming there have been no delays.

In the case of the PCC elections, voters select their first and second choices – if a candidate receives 50% of the first-choice votes, they will become the new PCC.

If no candidate gets 50% of the first-choice votes, the top two candidates are then entered into a head-to-head, and the second-choice votes will decide who is elected as PCC.

Original Article