How to vote in 2021 local elections: Ballot papers, voting systems and results times explained

The 2021 elections will see voters go to the polls to vote for representatives on their councils, a new West Midlands mayor and Police and Crime Commissioners for West Midlands and Staffordshire.

Millions of people will be voting across the country in dozens of individual elections taking place across the UK.

In total, Brits will be voting for 143 councils, 39 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), 13 mayors, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd, the London Assembly and an MP in the Hartlepool by-election.

The elections on May 6 are much bigger than usual, as they include votes already scheduled for this year and those which have been postponed 12 months from May 2020 by the pandemic.

It means that some people in the area will be filling out more than one form on Thursday, but others won't be voting for anyone at all.

Here is a guide explaining which elections are taking place in the Black Country and Staffordshire this week.

Which councils are holding an election?

In the Black Country and Staffordshire, the following councils are holding elections this year:

West Midlands mayoral election

Those living in the West Midlands combined authority area can also vote for a mayor in 2021.

Residents in the following areas will be eligible to vote:

  • Birmingham

  • Coventry

  • Dudley

  • Solihull

  • Walsall

  • West Bromwich

  • Wolverhampton

Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Two of 39 PCC elections include the West Midlands and Staffordshire.

How to vote

Council elections

The voting system for council elections is first-past-the-post method, i.e. those with the most votes win.

Mark one or more Xs for the people you want to win your ward (your ballot paper will say how many).

Mayoral election

The supplementary vote system is used to elect mayors, meaning votes make a first and second choice.

If a candidate achieves more than 50% of first choice votes, they win.

However, if they don't, all candidates except the top two are eliminated.

If your first choice candidate is one of those eliminated, and your second vote went to one of the two remaining candidates, then your second vote is transferred to that candidate.

Whoever has more than 50% of the vote after that process is the winner.

Police and Crime Commissioner election

The same supplementary vote method used in the mayoral election is also used to vote for a PCC.

When will the results be announced?

Votes will be counted during the days following Thursday's election, with various results being declared at different times.

The times below are predictions, and could be delayed due to recounts.

Council elections

  • Cannock Chase District Council: Saturday, May 8 - AM

  • Dudley Council: Friday, May 7 - AM

  • Sandwell Council: Friday, May 7 - AM

  • Staffordshire County Council: Saturday, May 8 - PM

  • Walsall Council: Friday, May 7 - PM

  • Wolverhampton Council: Full results Friday, May 7 - PM (some wards are being counted in the morning)

  • Worcestershire County Council: Friday, May 7

Mayoral election

Saturday May 8 - PM

Police and Crime Commissioner elections

  • Staffordshire: Friday, May 7

  • West Midlands: Saturday May 8 - PM

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