The Returning Officer for South Lakeland is responsible for carrying out all elections, including:
- District, county and parish council elections
- Parliamentary elections for the Member of Parliament for the Westmorland and Lonsdale Constituency
- European elections for the Members of the European Parliament (for South Lakeland's part of the North West Region)
- Various referendum and parish polls
All the scheduled local elections, e.g. district, county and parish council elections, are held on the first Thursday in May.
By-elections can be held at any time to fill a vacancy if, for instance, a councillor resigns.
District, county and parish councillors are all elected for a four year term and can stand for re-election when their term of office ends. They may resign at any time during their term of office and a by-election may be held to fill the vacancy.
South Lakeland District Council
There are 51 councillors representing 45 wards. Approximately one third of all district councillors retire each year, except every fourth year when Cumbria County Council elections are held.
In 2018, new ward boundaries come into effect and the number of wards will reduce to 18. The number of councillors remains the same with a mixture of two and three-member wards.
The next scheduled district council elections will be held in 2018.
Cumbria County Council
Cumbria County Council have 18 councillors representing 18 county electoral divisions in South Lakeland. All county councillors retire at the same time unless one resigns before their term of office ends.
Parish or town council elections
They follow the cycle of district council elections. All councillors on a particular parish council retire at the same time. The number of councillors varies on each parish or town council. The next scheduled parish or town council elections will be held in 2018.
Parliamentary general elections
There is now a fixed term for Parliament of five years so parliamentary general elections must now be held at the end of that five year term. As a result of the Parliamentary general elections being held in June 2017, the next scheduled election will take place in 2022.
There are eight Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the North West Region. European Parliamentary elections take place every five years. The next scheduled European elections will be in 2019, however, the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union means this is unlikely to take place.
Voting at elections
To be able to vote in any election your name must be included in the Register of Electors. You need to satisfy certain criteria to be eligible to register. For further information, please see register to vote.
You will receive a poll card before an election telling you when and where you can go to vote.
If you are unable to get to your polling station you may be able to register for a postal or proxy vote.