Voters in Great Yarmouth will be asked if council should hold whole elections or keep current election by thirds system

PUBLISHED: 11:15 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:14 08 August 2017

A poster promoting the Great Yarmouth Borough Council referendum on how elections should work.
Picture: GYBC

A poster promoting the Great Yarmouth Borough Council referendum on how elections should work. Picture: GYBC


Do you want your whole local council voted for every four years?

That is the question people across the borough of Great Yarmouth will be asked to vote on in a postal referendum.

In late August/early September, all registered electors will receive through their letterboxes an information pack and postal ballot paper with the question: “Should the council change its election cycle to whole council elections every four years or retain the existing system of election by thirds?”

People will need to send in their votes by Thursday, September 28, with the result announced the next day, with a full council meeting then deciding the matter.

Currently Great Yarmouth Borough Council holds elections by thirds, meaning approximately one third of the council’s 39 seats come up for election each year for three successive years in four.

In a letter to be sent out from next month, the council says switching to whole council elections every four years could save the taxpayer £120,000 per election cycle.

It also says whole elections give a clear mandate from the electorate to help the council draw up long term strategies, the election process is easy to understand, it could increase voter turnout and give people the chance to change the composition of the authority.

On the other side, the letter says keeping elections by thirds provides more frequent opportunity for electors to vote and influence the make up of the council.

It also brings in fresh influxes of councillors who may have new ideas and more frequent elections help to keep voters engaged and keep continuity at the council.

In a joint statement, the council’s group leaders, Graham Plant, Kay Grey, Trevor Wainwright and Adrian Myers, said: “There are relative advantages of each system, which will be outlined fairly in the information pack that will be delivered to electors in late summer.

“We encourage people to consider the options carefully before completing and returning their ballot.

“The final decision will be one for full council but the view of the community will be vital in informing this decision, so we are holding a local postal referendum and would like lots of electors to have their say by returning their completed ballot paper in the pre-paid envelope.”

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