ELECTION 2015: Lancaster and Morecambe goes to the polls

Salt Ayre Sports Centre. Lancaster.
Salt Ayre Sports Centre. Lancaster.

Today is the day.

After weeks of debating the issues, campaigning across the district, bringing in the big guns from the main and shadow cabinets, not to mention general backbiting, point-scoring and trying every trick in the book to try to gain your vote, politicians will wait on tenterhooks as you decide who will form the next government.

Polls in the general and local elections opened across the Lancaster district at 7am will remain open until 10pm.

Then all eyes will be on Salt Ayre Sports Centre, where first the verification of ballot papers will take place until 2am on Friday.

The count, presided over by Lancaster City Council staff, will then begin.

Tentatively, the announcements of who has won the Lancaster and Fleetwood, and Morecambe and Lunesdale seats, are expected some time around 6am tomorrow.

Follow the count in our live blog HERE

But don’t be surprised, given the predicted closeness of both votes in ultra marginal seats, if it takes longer. Most experts believe both seats will be a straight fight between Conservative and Labour.

In Lancaster, it’s Eric Ollerenshaw (Tory) vs Cat Smith (Labour) and in Morecambe, David Morris (Tory) battles Amina Lone (Labour).

But given the national attention on the UK Independence party, how Matthew Atkins (Lancaster) and Steven Ogden (Morecambe) perform will be of great interest.

The Green party has a significant following in our district, especially in the city wards, so Chris Coates (Lancaster) and Phil Chandler (Morecambe) will be hoping to pick up votes.

The Lib Dem result nationally could have a bearing on who forms the next government, as in 2010, so eyes will also be on the performance of Robin Long (Lancaster) and Matthew Severn (Morecambe).

Not much is known about the new Northern party, who complete the list of candidates in both seats with Harold Elletson (Lancaster) and Michael Dawson (Morecambe).

The local election results are due on Saturday with counts in the Lancaster City Council and parish council elections due to start at 9.30am.

Exactly 200 candidates are fighting for 60 seats on Lancaster City Council. The outgoing council was controlled by a Labour-Green coalition, Labour having 21 councillors, the Tories 15, with 13 Independents, 10 Greens and one seat vacant.

Meanwhile eight wards will choose 23 councillors for Morecambe Town Council, while Carnforth Town Council and the make-up of other parish councils throughout the district will also be determined on Saturday.

Follow the count in our live blog HERE