Make your vote count

With less than a week until the Council elections, South Ayrshire’s Returning Officer is reminding all voters to make sure they know what they have to do to make their vote count on Thursday 3 May.

David Anderson, Returning Officer and Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council, said: “As there’s only days until polls open, it’s important our voters know what information they should have received by now, where they should go to vote and – crucially – who they should contact if they have any questions or queries about taking part in the election.

“We’ve been putting out lots of information over the last few months and, hopefully, this will have provided voters with all they need to know about this election and how to take part; however, we’re here to help if anyone needs further information and guidance.”

All 89,713 registered eligible voters in South Ayrshire should have received a polling card telling them at which one of the 52 polling places they should vote at on 3 May. Every polling place will be open from 7am until 10pm on polling day, ensuring voters have plenty of opportunities to vote at a time that suits them.

Any voters who haven’t received a polling card should contact the Election Office on 01292 612222.

Voters should take their polling cards with them when they go to vote; however anyone who forgets their card should still be able to vote.

Once at the polling station, voters will be issued with their ballot paper and should complete it in line with the instructions provided on the single transferable vote (STV).

Using STV, voters are asked to number the candidates on the ballot paper in order of choice: 1 for the candidate they like best, 2 for their second choice, 3 for their third choice, 4 for their fourth choice and so on.

Voters can number as many or as few candidates as they like, so if there are six candidates, they can vote for just one (by writing 1 in the relevant box), all six (numbering the boxes 1-6 in order of choice) or for any number in between (again numbering from 1, depending on how many candidates they want to choose).

Voters can choose as many or as few candidates as they like as long as they number at least one candidate and then in order. Completed ballot papers should then be put – without folding the paper – into the ballot box.

David Anderson also reminded those who had received a postal voting pack to return their votes as soon as possible. He said: “As well as completing the ballot paper, postal voters also have to complete the postal voting statement, so make sure you complete this carefully with your date of birth and signature and return it alongside your ballot paper as instructed.”

Postal votes can be returned in the mail, handed in to the Election Office at County Buildings, Wellington Square, Ayr (office hours only) or handed in to any polling station in South Ayrshire between 7am and 10pm on Thursday 3 May. All postal votes must be received by 10pm on Thursday 3 May 2012 or the votes won’t count.

“By following all the instructions and information provided, you can make sure your vote counts. I hope all those who are eligible take the opportunity to have their say on who should serve on this Council for the next five years.”

The independent Electoral Commission has sent a voter information booklet to all homes in Scotland.

Andy O’Neill, Head of the Electoral Commission’s Scotland Office, added: “It’s your vote and we don’t want you to lose it by not filling in the ballot paper correctly. Make sure your vote counts on 3 May by reading the booklet we sent to every house. If you have mislaid it you can visit or call 0800 3 280 280.”