By Samuel Bannister
Voters across West Yorkshire head to the polling stations tomorrow to have their say in the 2018 local elections.
It’s the first time they will have voted since last year’s dramatic General Election.
Due to boundary changes of the wards in which people vote, the public will be voting for three councillors in this election, rather than one.
Despite this, voters can choose to only vote for one or two councillors. They cannot vote for the same person more than once.
The ward boundaries have changed to reflect the changing populations in each area.
In total, there are 33 wards in Leeds with council seats up for grabs.
The candidate with the most votes in a ward will be elected as a councillor for four years. The runner up will stand as a councillor for two years, and the third placed candidate will hold their position for one year.
As a result of these term lengths, there will be no more elections with three seats at stake in future – meaning this really is a unique election.
Currently, Labour representatives hold approximately 59% of Leeds City Council’s seats, with Conservatives making up about 19% of the Council.
What you need to know
Polling opens at 7am and closes at 10pm on Thursday, 3rd May.
Due to the boundary changes of the wards, people may be voting at a different location than usual. Therefore, they are being urged to check their polling card to be sure where they are voting.
Only people who registered to vote before 17th April this year, and are 18 or over, are eligible to vote.
Voters may choose to vote for candidates from different parties, if they wish to. So, for example, they could use one of their votes for a Conservative candidate, one for a Labour candidate, and one for a Liberal Democrat.
Results are expected to be announced throughout Friday 4th May.
What are the key issues?
With the city’s council split into 33 wards, there are naturally a wide range of issues across the various boundaries. However, some are seen as important in more wards than others. Congestion, affordable housing, the environment and the protection of greenbelt land are seen as topics that could sway votes across the city, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
School places and antisocial behaviour are also deemed to be concerning issues in multiple parts of the city. Many parts of North Leeds are affected by the so-called ‘black hole’ of school places, with residents not being able to go to schools within walking distance. This will be a key issue for the new councillors of the likes of Roundhay and Alwoodley.
Each area is different though, which is why voters are urged to familiarise themselves with the key issues affecting them before they cast their all-important decisions tomorrow.