Ultimate guide to Thursday’s local elections – what seats are up for election and how can I vote?


SUPER Thursday will see millions of voters go to the polls for the first time in two years tomorrow – after they were postponed due to Covid.

As a result even more contests than usual as planned, with polling stations open across the country to elect the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, councillors, mayors and even an MP.

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Boris Johnson touches elbows with a campaigner during a visit to Barry, Wales
Labour boss Sir Keir and Sadiq Khan campaigning in London yesterday

Here’s everything you need to know about polling day tomorrow.

Which seats are being elected?

There are a total of 5,000 seats up for grabs.

That breaks down as seats on 143 English councils, plus 129 Scottish parliament seats, 60 Welsh Assembly seats, 25 London Assembly members, 13 directly elected mayors, 39 police and crime commissioners and a Westminster by-election to elect a new MP.

One new West Yorkshire Mayoral post is expected too.

Here’s a full list of elections taking place on Super Thursday:

  • Senedd elections (in Wales)
  • Scottish Parliament elections
  • English local government elections (includes polls postponed from May 2020), including elections to county, district and parish councils
  • Police and Crime Commissioners (polls postponed from May 2020)
  • Combined Authority Mayoral (includes polls postponed from May 2020)
  • Local Mayoral (includes polls postponed from May 2020)
  • Mayor of London and London Assembly (polls postponed from May 2020)

The Labour leader on the Seaton Carew seafront

The Tories will be hoping to make gains in Wales

The PM on the campaign trail in Hartlepool earlier this week

Is there an exit poll?

No there won’t be – these only happen in general elections usually.

There may be on-the-day polling from pollsters tomorrow showing the state of play of the two main parties.

How can I vote?

If you haven’t already voted by post, you can vote in person by showing up to your usual polling station – as long as you’re already registered to vote.

Unfortunately if you’re not, it is now too late to sign up.

You should have got a polling card through the post telling you where to go, or your local council website will tell you where your station is.

They’re open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday.

You’ll have to fill in the paper forms as usual, and animals must be left outside the station.

No one else will be allowed to watch you vote – with the exception of children who aren’t eligible.

Sie Keir Starmer looking for extra votes

The PM enjoys an ice cream on the campaign trail

Are there Covid rules?

Yes, there are extra rules and restrictions thanks to Covid.

Everyone – minus those who are exempt – will have to wear a mask in the polling station.

And everyone will have to keep distant from others they don’t live with.

There will likely be limits on how many people can go inside the venue at one time, so you might have to queue outside.

Brits are being told to bring their own pens and pencils to vote, to stop the spread of Covid.

But those who don’t turn up with one will not be turned away.

When will the results come in?

He stopped for selfies with passers by

We’re not expecting these results to come in all overnight as they usually do – so don’t expect to see too many ballot boxes flying in to be counted like we usually do on election night.

It’s expected that the first result will be for the Hartlepool by-election, likely before 4am on Friday morning.

The Doncaster Mayoral election is also expected to deliver results overnight or in the morning.

That will give us a good indication of whether Boris Johnson is doing well, or Sir Keir Starmer is making inroads.

But most other results will come afterwards, taking hours or even days longer.

In England, most local authorities will start counting on Friday, but different areas will be counting different polls at different times.

The Tees Valley Mayor count will be on Friday, with results likely later in the day.  

Some areas are even counting over the weekend, meaning results will be pushed back to Saturday, Sunday, or even Monday.

Matt Hancock and Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor visit the Rudds Arms pub

In London, the Greater London Returning Officer has confirmed that all constituencies will be counted over Friday and Saturday, starting at 9am on Friday and 8am on Saturday.

That means it’s likely we’ll hear whether Sadiq Khan will be re-elected for another term on Saturday – or whether Shaun Bailey has booted him out.

In Wales and Scotland counts will begin on Friday morning, so we may get some results by the end of the day.

The West Midlands Mayor result is expected between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday.And the West Yorkshire results are likely on Sunday.

Who is going to win?

Sadiq Khan is fighting to stay London Mayor for another term

Andy Street is tipped to hold onto the West Midlands Mayor job, and Ben Houchen in Tees Valley.

Sadiq Khan is also polling well in London and expected to get another term in City Hall.

The Tories are doing better in most opinion polls, so expectations are rising that they may take the Hartlepool MP slot, but it’s never gone Tory before in its whole history.

Labour are expected to make some gains as Sir Keir Starmer gets a post-Corbyn bounce since taking over as leader of the party.

And the Tories say that they still are defending a lot of seats from a traditionally high position.

The Labour boss will face his first mayor test on Thursday

But delivering Brexit and the vaccine bounce is likely to deliver the PM a strong set of results.

Traditionally Labour has done well in Wales, but the Tories have made huge gains there in recent years, so a win for Mark Drakeford would be a majority or anything more.

The SNP are predicted to win the Scottish elections, but Nicola Sturgeon may slip a few seats short of an overall majority, leaving her to mull over whether to do another pact with a party or struggle on with a majority government.

Can I watch the results come in on telly?

The BBC News Channel will do an overnight elections special on Thursday evening after polls close.

And they will have an elections special programme in the day on Friday and Saturday too – with special regional broadcasts planned also.

Sky News will also deliver special coverage through Friday morning and into the weekend.

Did you miss our previous article…