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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Election Helpline to go live on 22 March

Election Helpline to go live on 22 March

Issued: 13 Mar 2007

An Elections Helpline will be available to the public from Thursday 22 March when nominations are invited for the Scottish Parliament and The Highland Council elections. The number is 0845 603 5528. The helpline is being introduced to assist prospective candidates and voters with any queries they may have in the run up to the elections on Thursday 3 May.

Those interested in seeking election to the Scottish Parliament or The Highland Council have until 4.00 pm on Wednesday 11 April to submit their nominations.

Extensive information about the elections is posted on The Highland Council's web site www.highland.gov.uk A new feature will be a post code finder which allows electors to identify their polling station by typing in their postal code.

The Returning Officer for the Highland and Islands Region is Arthur McCourt, Chief Executive, The Highland Council.

He is responsible for returning results in:

  1. The three Highland constituencies:
    • Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (41,606 electors)
    • Ross, Skye and Inverness West (59,207)
    • Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber (71,102).
  2. The 7 Additional Members to represent the Highlands and Islands Region on the Scottish Parliament.
  3. The 80 members to represent The Highland Council.

More than 16,000 electors have already applied to vote by postal ballot. Those choosing to vote at one of the 336 polling stations in Highland will be given two ballot papers.

There will be a single ballot paper for the Scottish Parliament. The right hand column will feature the names of the candidates and parties to elect a constituency MSP. This will be coloured violet. The left hand column will feature the parties and independent list candidates for the Additional Members on the Regional List. This will be brown.

Voters mark their choices for the people and parties they want to vote for - one ~X~ for their constituency vote one ~X~ for their Additional Member vote.

For the first time in a Highland Council election, electors will be voting by Proportional Representation, using a single transferable vote. This has resulted in the creation of 22 multi member wards ~ 14 four-member wards and 8 three member wards, which will replace the existing 80 individual wards.

In the Council election, voters number the candidates in order of preference: 1 for first choice, 2 for second choice, 3 for your third ~ and so on. The ballot paper is white.

Voting will take place between 7 am ~ 10 pm. Information Officers will complement the Presiding Officer and Polling Clerk at 100 of the busiest polling stations to assist voters.

Another first is that counting will be conducted electronically. All counting will take place at Inverness Leisure Centre, Bught Park. Ballot papers will be scanned into 13 scanners and processed via 23 computers.

The count for the three Scottish parliamentary constituencies will be completed overnight with the results announced in the early hours of Friday 4 May.

The results of the Scottish Parliament Additional Members and The Highland Council will be announced later on Friday.

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Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme