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Explainer: What are ‘all out’ elections and how is Kent affected?

Polling stations opened today (May 5) for the Local Council Elections in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Voters are heading to their local station to cast their vote.

But, there is expected to be repercussions for the main parties after the ‘partygate’ scandal.

We’re going to tell you everything you need to know regarding the elections and answer your key questions.

When are the polls open?

Polls opened this morning at 7am in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

They will close at 10pm tonight with the results expected at tomorrow as they are announced.

Maidstone Borough Council

Why are only some local councils holding elections?

You may be wondering why it’s just Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells who are holding elections this month.

This is because these are ‘all out’ elections where a third of seats in Maidstone Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are available.

Kent holds elections every four years and the last one was in May 2021, so basically, it’s not yet time for the county elections, but these are ‘all out’ elections.

Tunbridge Wells Town Hall 

Who can vote?

If you live in one of the wards where seats are being contested then you are able to vote.

In Maidstone, the wards where seats are up for grabs are:

  • Allington
  • Bearsted
  • Boxley
  • Bridge
  • Coxheath and Hunton
  • East
  • Fant
  • Harrietsham and Lenham
  • Headcorn
  • Health
  • High Street
  • Marden and Yalding
  • North
  • Park Wood
  • Shepway North
  • Shepway South
  • South
  • Staplehurst

In Tunbridge Wells, the wards with seats available are:

  • Benenden and Cranbrook
  • Brenchley and Horsmonden
  • Broadwater
  • Culverden
  • Hawkhurst and Sadnhurst
  • Paddock Wood East
  • Paddock Wood West
  • Pantiles and St Mark’s
  • Park
  • Pembury
  • Sherwood
  • Southborough North
  • Southborough and High Brooms
  • Speldhurst and Bidborough
  • St James’
  • St John’s

So, if you live in any of the above areas, you can vote.

Where can I vote?

Voters can find their nearest polling station by putting their postcode into the website here.

What do I need to vote?

Those who are eligible to vote would have received a polling card in the post so you should bring this with you to vote.

But you don’t have to take your polling card with you, you just need to tell the poll clerk your name and address so they can check you are on the electoral register.

Voters could have registered to vote online too but as polling stations have opened now, people can no longer register online.

What’s the point of these elections?

While these elections are meant to be about services provided by the local council such as rubbish collections, the recent scandal within the government will potentially skew the vote.

Voters are likely to base their vote off their opinion of the ‘partygate’ scandal that the Conservatives played a key role in at 10 Downing Street.

It’s likely we could see the local Conservative councillors party take the hit for this after the actions of the Prime Minister.

For Maidstone, 18 out of 55 seats are up for grabs with the Conservatives holding the majority of seats (29).

In Tunbridge Wells, 16 seats out of 47 are available with the Conservatives also currently holding the majority and therefore running the authority.

The results of these elections are expected at some point tomorrow (May 6).

Featured image credit: Edmond Dantes, Pexels