Polling palava over Euro elections

They are the willo-the-wisp elections which may end up disappearing….

By Lucy Ashton
Tuesday, 23 April, 2019, 14:18
Sheffield Town Hall

The Euro elections, where people vote for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), are due to take place this May.

Parties are in the process of selecting Euro candidates, with well-known councillors Magid Magid, Alison Teal and Shaffaq Mohammed all standing.

But there may be a spanner in the works if Parliament passes an EU withdrawal agreement in April or May – and the Euro elections are called off.

Normally, the Euro elections are held the same day as the local council elections. This means people only have to turn out to vote once and it’s more economical for the council as they only need to use polling stations and staff on one day.

At the moment, the council elections take place on Thursday, May 2, followed by the Euro elections on Thursday, May 23.

Potentially, schools which are used as polling stations could end up closing on both days. And some venues which are normally used as polling stations may not be available for the Euro elections.

The council’s deputy returning officer, James Henderson, explained: “The European Parliament election was called too late to combine with the local election and as a consequence will have its own timetable.

“This timetable was set by Parliament and we have no power locally to change this.

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“Local elections are always scheduled to be held on the first Thursday in May. In previous EU election years, Parliament has passed legislation at least six months in advance to enable the local elections to be deferred and combined with the EU elections later in May.

“This has not been possible as the Government has only recently announced that the European Parliament election is now taking place so there is no provision for the local election to be delayed.

“If Parliament passed an EU Withdrawal Agreement in April or May, it would have obvious implications for the EU elections, but this is something beyond the local authority’s control.”  

Mr Henderson says the council is continuing to prepare for the Euro elections.

“Our focus for now is planning and delivering a set of well-run European Parliament elections that voters and candidates can have confidence in,” he said.

“Polling stations will be open as usual from 7am to 10pm but there may be some changes to the locations of the polling stations due to availability. The location of the polling station that voters should use will be clearly shown on poll cards.”