Eyes on Liverpool and Lancashire as voters head for polls across North West today
Voters across the North West take to the polls today in local council elections that are being viewed as a foretaste for the next General Election and how Labour’s opinion poll lead over the Conservatives translates into actual votes at the ballot box.
However, local issues are also expected to be prominent in voters minds in contests to elect whole new councils in Liverpool and in four Greater Manchester boroughs.
Contests in the Lancashire boroughs of Hyndburn, Burnley and Pendle are also seen as a bellwether for the national picture, though local issues are also playing out in those three areas, not just the revival of Labour in the so-called Red Wall.
In Stockport, Tameside, Bolton and Oldham every council seat is up for grabs in ‘all-out’ elections, where a mixture of hyper local issues in individual wards are as likely to influence the outcome as the regional or national picture.
Many councils will be counting ballots on Friday, rather than the usual through the night sessions.
The elections are also the first where voters will need to show photo ID at polling stations before they can receive their ballot paper, a new requirement introduced by the UK Government.
Accepted forms of ID include a passport; drivers’ licence; some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass or the new free Voter Authority Certificate. Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.
Voters will be required to present ID which will be checked by polling station staff. A private area will be available at the polling station so a voter can choose to have their photo ID viewed in private.