Local elections: Council and mayoral voting in full swing

A polling station in Derby The first results are expected to be announced early on Friday morning

Voting at local elections in England, Wales and Scotland - and to elect mayors in London, Liverpool and Salford - is in full swing.

More than 4,700 seats are up for grabs on 128 English councils, most of which were last contested in 2008.

Every seat on Scotland's 32 unitary authorities is up for election and the make-up of 21 unitary authorities in Wales will also be decided.

Referendums on whether to elect a mayor are being held in 10 English cities.

Mixed weather

Polling stations opened at 0700 BST and close at 2200, with the first council results expected to come in during the early hours of Friday.

Some councils, however, will not begin counting votes until normal business hours on Friday - meaning the results may not be known until the evening.

Showers are predicted across much of Wales and southern and central England, with Scotland and northern England remaining largely dry.

How to cast your ballot

  • Go to your local polling station and tell the staff your name and address so they can check you are on the electoral register. You do not need to have your polling card with you to vote.
  • You will be given a ballot paper listing the parties and candidates you can vote for. You may be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election.
  • Information about the voting system will be printed on the ballot paper. If you fill the paper in incorrectly, your vote may not be counted.
  • In the privacy of a polling booth, fill in your ballot paper. Then leave it in the ballot box.

A total of 4,722 seats will be decided in local authority elections in England.

Contests are being held in 36 metropolitan councils - with a third of seats being fought in cities such as Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.

Elections are also being held for 74 shire district councils and 18 unitary district councils.

In Scotland, every seat on the country's 32 unitary authorities - including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen - is being contested.

Votes are also being held to determine the political complexion of 21 unitary authorities in Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham.

In London, Boris Johnson is seeking a second term as the capital's mayor. As in 2008, he is being challenged by Ken Livingstone for Labour and Brian Paddick for the Lib Dems.

How to vote in the London mayoral elections

Independent Siobhan Benita, the BNP's Carlos Cortiglia, the Green Party's Jenny Jones and UKIP's Lawrence Webb are also standing.

The first elections to choose mayors for Liverpool and Salford are taking place. Twelve candidates are running for mayor in Liverpool while 10 are standing in Salford.

Elections for 25 seats to the London Assembly, last held in 2008, are being held.

There are 14 constituency-based ballots, with the candidate winning the most votes being elected. A further 11 seats will be filled on the basis of the parties' overall share of the vote across the city.

Referendums are also being held in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield on whether to bring in elected mayors.

However, Doncaster will vote to decide whether to abolish the town's directly elected mayor, 11 years after residents chose to introduce one.

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Vote 2012

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