Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sheffield elections

On Thursday 3 May 2012 Sheffield voters can vote in:
  • Local government elections to choose local councillors to represent you
  • A referendum on how you would like Sheffield City Council to be run

You are expected to understand what the referendum and local elections are, what your options are and how you will vote before you go to the polling station. 

Polling station staff are very limited in what they are allowed to tell you about the referendum and can only read set responses from a script if you ask for any information.

Local election

Local elections are held on a four year cycle. There is an election every year for three years and then no election in the fourth year. In this election you are voting to elect Councillors of Sheffield who will represent your views for the ward (area) in which you live.

Your polling card will state which ward you are in or you can look your address up on the Sheffield City Council website (after locating your address click on the map to find out what the ward is).

If you scroll to the bottom of this post you'll find a list of all 150 candidates standing in this election, ordered by ward. I'd encourage you to research the candidates in your ward, google them for news articles, see if they're on twitter, facebook etc to help you make your decision.

Below are links to the websites of the parties standing in Sheffield so you can research their policies.

Mayoral referendum

The referendum is being held in Sheffield because the Secretary of State has ordered 10 of the largest cities in England to conduct referendums, of which Sheffield City Council is one. On the ballot paper, you will be asked:

How would you like Sheffield City Council to be run?
  1. By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors - this is how the council is run now.
  2. By a mayor who is elected by voters - this would be a change from how the council is run now.
You must put an X in the box next to one of these two options.

Click here to download a pdf called Use Your Vote which explains the referendum

For more background information and to find out what is happening in other cities, visit the Wikipedia page.

How to vote

If you are registered to vote, you should have received a polling card in the post. If you have not registered by now, you cannot vote.

The card tells you where your polling station is. You can only vote at the polling station on the card. Whilst this will usually be the closest polling station to your house, this is not always the case. It can sometimes change from one year to the next, so please check where you need to go this year. You can find a map of polling stations on the council website.

All you need to vote is yourself. Whilst taking the polling card with you can help polling station staff process you a bit quicker (because it has your elector number on it), it is not essential. You do not need to provide ID.

If you have registered to vote by post, the polling station cannot issue you with a ballot paper, however you can drop your sealed postal vote off (so long as it is for Sheffield).

In the polling station you need to confirm your name and address, then you will be issued two ballot papers:
  • A white ballot paper with a list of candidates in the local council elections
  • A yellow ballot paper for the mayoral referendum

You must take your ballot papers to a voting booth where there will be a pencil for you to use. You must mark an X next to one option on each ballot paper. There should be a poster in the voting booth explaining this.

You then need to put your marked ballot papers in the ballot boxes (they are usually black bags with yellow zips in Sheffield). There will be two boxes, one for your yellow paper and one for your white paper. They should be clearly marked as to which goes in which, but the staff will help you if you are not sure.

You can vote between 7am and 10pm
Please try not to leave it until the last minute. Polling closes at 10pm sharp and anyone who has not been issued with a ballot paper at that time will not be able to vote.

If you have any concerns or queries, contact Sheffield Electoral Services on 0114 273 4093 (this number is only available until 5pm, even on polling day). Or visit the Sheffield City Council website.



  1. Thanks for giving people the important info they need to participate in these elections.
    Graham Wroe (Sheffield Green Party)

  2. Thank you, useful site. There's lots of out-of-date info out there about candidates though.