Leeds election count is on, but who’ll be in poll position?

A voter at the polling station at St Margarets Parish Church, Horsforth yesterday.
A voter at the polling station at St Margarets Parish Church, Horsforth yesterday.
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The votes are cast, and the ballot boxes are being opened at Leeds Town Hall as the new make-up of Leeds City Council is determined.

After polls closed at 10pm last night at 328 polling stations across the city, the mammoth operation to validate and count every single slip of paper was due to begin at 10am today.

A total of 33 seats - one third of all the seats on Leeds City Council - are being contested this year, with 185 candidates battling to win the right to represent us in the Leeds Civic Hall chamber.

As well as the council election count, the city’s votes for the next police and crime commissioner of West Yorkshire will start being totted up at 2pm.

Overnight and early in the morning, 716 ballot boxes from across Leeds will have been sealed and delivered to the Town Hall ready for opening at 10am.

There will 1,300 volunteer counting staff on duty through the day today.

Early predictions suggest no major shocks in store which would shake up overall control of Leeds.

It would take a minor miracle - and an unbelievably bad day for Labour - for power to be wrested away from the red corner.

Turnout is expected to be around the 35 per cent mark, about average for a local election. Last year’s turnout was almost double that, bolstered by General Election fervour.

Election watcher Neil Taggart is brutally honest in his assertion that “for many people, local elections just do not matter anymore”.

He believes that the gradual dismantling of local authority powers by successive Governments is a major factor in lower turnouts, although he is hoping the final numbers will reveal a better percentage today.

“There are fewer and fewer things being done by the council although the list is still quite long and the council still plays a big role,” he says.

“If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain.”

>Follow @AishaIqbalYEP and @LeedsNews on Twitter, and check here throughout the day, for live updates of the results from Leeds Town Hall.

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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