Local elections were held for just under 2,400 seats in 128 authorities in England. In six authorities the whole council was elected following boundary changes; in the other authorities either a third (115 councils) or a half (seven councils) of members were elected.
In 11 cities there were referendums on an elected mayor; direct elections for the new post of Mayor in both Liverpool and Salford; and the fourth contest for the election of the Mayor and Assembly of the Greater London Authority.
Some 8,800 candidates contested the local elections, yielding a candidate/seat ratio of 3.6 overall. Just 4 councillors were elected unopposed.
The 2012 local elections gave over 15.9 million registered electors the opportunity to vote: 40% of the total electorate in England.
Nearly 75,000 electors (0.5% of the total) registered in the weeks leading up to the election under the so-called ’11 day rule’.
Some 4.94 million valid local election votes were cast at the ballot box, making the overall turnout 31.0%. This was some four percentage
points below the turnout at the comparable stage in the electoral cycle in 2008.
The proportion of ballots that are rejected at the official count continues to be small. In 2012 it was about one in every two hundred votes cast.
Over 2.6 million postal votes were issued -16.6% of all those with a contested election in their ward.
In five council areas more than 30% of the electorate had a postal vote; in another ten fewer than 10% had a postal vote.
More than two in three (68.0%) of those with a postal ballot returned it. In contrast fewer than a quarter of those electors required to vote ‘in
person’ did so (24.2%).
The proportion of postal votes rejected or otherwise not included in the count was 4.2%.
Rejection following a mismatch of signature and/or date of birth was much more common than rejection for incomplete information.
In a little under one in five of these cases voters returned their postal voting envelopes but failed to include either the ballot paper itself or the
verification statement or both.
About one half of one percent of electors with a postal vote were granted a waiver to use their date of birth as their sole identifier.
Some 16,000 local electors (0.10% of the total electorate) appointed proxies to act on their behalf.
The proportion of ballot papers rejected at the count, and of postal votes rejected before the count, was higher at the mayoral referendum than at the local elections in those cites which had a combined electoral event.
The pattern of postal voting and postal vote rejection at the GLA contests was similar to that in other parts of England with local elections only.