People in Bolton and around the UK will go to the polls tomorrow for the 2022 local elections.

Voters will be choosing local representatives

When are the local elections?

The local elections take place on Thursday May 5.

Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm.

When will the results be announced?

After polls close at 10pm, ballot boxes are taken from all the polling stations to local or regional counting centres where staff open them and start counting votes.

Once all the votes in an area are counted, the official in charge – the returning officer – takes the stage and announces the results.

The first batch of results is likely to be announced at midnight, with Bolton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Essex traditionally announced around this time.

What seats are up for grabs?

The battle to take control of Bolton Town Hall is on a knife edge ahead of next week’s election, which is set to send reverberations around the country.

The borough has been run by a minority Conservative administration since 2019 and this time around neither party is likely to win an outright majority, and will need the help of smaller parties to form the governing party.

A third of seats up for grabs in the poll.

Residents are voting in each of the borough’s 20 wards on polling day on Thursday, May 5 with 20 of the authority’s 60 members set to be elected.

A total of 98 candidates in total are standing for councillor positions in each of the wards which make up the town.

Why do local elections matter?

Local elections do not enjoy the same prominence as general elections, with turnout always low, rarely reaching above 40%.

However, these elections will decide who is responsible in an individual’s local area for planning issues, housing and rubbish collections, public transport and road maintenance.

They will also be an opportunity for voters to have their say on national issues including the cost of living, lockdown breaches in Downing Street and the Government’s response to the war in Ukraine, therefore providing a wider picture on the performance of the main political parties.

What do the polls say?

Polling results published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggested the Conservatives could be set for their worst performance in the local elections since the 1990s.

The survey, conducted by Electoral Calculus with Find Out Now, suggested Labour could be on course to gain more than 800 seats, while the Tories are likely to lose 548 seats on councils across the country.

Veteran elections expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the PA news agency it was hard to predict the outcome of local elections, adding the loss of 550 seats was “not unrealistic”.