Thu, 08 Jun 2017
TODAY, residents of West Berkshire will vote in what is arguably the most important General Election in decades.
Brexit, the state and future of public services and trust in leaders and parties will be in the forefront of people’s minds as they head to the polls following a short campaign since the election was called six weeks ago.
Polling stations across the district will be open from 7am until 10pm tonight and the result is expected in the early hours of tomorrow (Friday).
The Newbury Weekly News website newburytoday.co.uk will be bringing you live updates from the count throughout the night and also reaction from candidates on the local and national results.
Conservative Richard Benyon will be seeking to hold on to his Newbury seat after being elected with a 26,368 majority at the polls in 2015, where he received 34,973 votes.
The closest rival last time around, Liberal Democrat Judith Bunting, will be determined to improve on the previous result of 8,605 votes, which saw the Lib Dems (and the Liberals before that) achieve their lowest vote share in a General Election in more than 60 years.
Labour finished fourth (4,837 votes) behind UKIP in 2015, but UKIP has not fielded a candidate this time around and suggested that its 6,195 voters support the Conservatives instead.
However, Labour claims that the party is growing in the district.
The Greens are hoping their candidate, Paul Field, can improve on their 2,324 votes received at the last election, while Apolitical David Yates will aim to improve on the 95 votes he received in 2010.
West Berkshire Council is responsible for running the parliamentary election of the Newbury constituency, as well as the election of district and town councillors for the Thatcham South and Crookham ward.
It has also been working closely with Wokingham and Reading councils as a significant part of West Berkshire falls within the Reading West and Wokingham constituencies.
There will be around 500 people working on the election at 130 polling stations across the district.
This includes 345 polling station staff, 130 people counting votes and others to ensure the day runs smoothly.
It is not mandatory to bring a poll card when you vote, but the council said that doing so will help ensure the voting process is quick and convenient.
More than 6,000 alterations have been made to the register of electors and more than 2,500 electors added to the list of postal voters.
A total of 82,923 people across West Berkshire are able to take part in the General Election.
Alongside this, the council’s electoral team has had to check the availability, and book, community venues for polling stations, arrange the delivery and collection of screens for each venue and a myriad other tasks ready for the long wait at tonight’s count.