Voters in Sunderland will head to the polls tomorrow with more than 130 wannabe councillors to choose from.
Sunderland City Council is one of 246 English councils taking part in the latest round of local elections.
And, unlike some parts of the country where a lack of candidates has led to some councillors being returned unopposed, all of Sunderland’s voters will have the opportunity to have their say.
The city’s 122 polling stations will open at 7am, with ballot boxes due to accept their last votes and be sealed up at 10pm.
Votes will then be taken for counting and, based on last year’s schedule, results should be confirmed for all wards about midnight.
A third of the council’s 75 seats are up for grabs, with one due to be elected from each of the city’s 25 wards.
The exception to this is Sandhill, which will elect two councillors after Lynn Appleby chose to quit the council in March.
The former councillor was elected in last year’s (2018) local elections as a Liberal Democrat, but was later forced to sit ‘without party badge’ following a row over offensive social media posts.
The city council’s ruling Labour Party group currently has 60 councillors, meaning even in the unlikely event it has a disastrous night and loses in all seats, it would remain the single biggest party, but short of an overall majority.
On the opposition benches, the Liberal Democrats currently have five eight councillors, while the Conservatives have eight.
The Green Party are also hoping to gain their first member of the city council.
And, after failing to field a single candidate last year, UKIP will also be appearing on ballot papers once again.
However, voters will not be able to opt for Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party, which is not standing in local elections, but which will contest elections for the European Parliament due to be held on Thursday, May 23.
More information on how to vote and where your polling station is can be found at www.sunderland.gov.uk
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service