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Elections And Voting

Last Updated: Tuesday June 02 2009 12:52 GMT

Local elections

Someone posting their vote in a ballet box

Local elections decide who'll be the councillors who run your local services.

There are several different types of local elections in the UK. That's because the way your local council is organised depends on where you live.

Some places in the UK have just one group of councillors who run all sorts of local services.

In other areas, things are split between two or more 'layers' of councillors.

Local councillors in England are elected using the 'first-past-the post' system, just like at a General Election.

The candidate who gets the most votes wins, regardless of whether he or she has more than 50% support.

Scotland and Northern Ireland's local councillors are elected by proportional representation.

Unlike the House of Commons, a local council is often elected 'a bit at a time' rather than all in one go.

These are some types of local government found around the UK:

  • County council
  • District council
  • Borough council
  • Parish council
  • Town council
  • Unitary authority
  • Community council
  • Metropolitan borough
  • London borough
  • Some places in England also have directly elected mayors.