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Voters set to go to the polls in Malvern Hills District

Voters will go to the polls in two weeks time to have their say in what will be the biggest election in Malvern Hills District Council's history.

On Thursday, 7 May voters will be choosing their next MP, district councillors and parish councillors as Parliamentary, Malvern Hills District Council and parish council elections take place on the same day for the first time since the district was formed in 1974.

A total of 94 candidates are seeking election to the district council this time around, up from the 74 who fought for seats at the last poll in 2011.

There has also been an increase in the number of contested wards this time around with voters being given the chance to vote in 20 of the 22 wards on offer, compared to only 16  wards four years ago.

An estimated 21,000 postal ballot papers will be issued for the three elections and the 93 polling stations being used across the district will be equipped with over 120,000 ballot papers ready to be issued to voters.

More than 400 staff will be involved in the running of the election including those running polling stations, counting and dealing with postal votes.

Matthew Box, Electoral Services Manager at Malvern Hills District Council, said: "The fact we have seen an increase in candidates and a reduction in the number of uncontested wards is a good thing for democracy as it increases the choice voters have at the ballot box."

Polling stations will be open on 7 May from 7am until 10pm. Once the poll has closed the ballot boxes will be transferred to the count hall at the Bank House hotel in Bransford where all votes cast will be verified.

Counting for the Parliamentary election will then begin with a result due between 2am and 4am.

Counting for the Malvern Hills District Council election and parish council elections will take place from 2pm on Friday, 8 May.

Live updates from both counts will be available from Malvern Hills District Council's Twitter and Facebook accounts. To follow the results as they come in like us on Facebook

www.facebook.com/MalvernHillsUK or follow us on Twitter @MHDCcomms

Visit www.malvernhills.gov.uk/elections for more information.