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Cost of running local government elections in Moray to rise by £29,000

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RUNNING next year's local government elections is expected to cost Moray Council £29,000 more than the last ballot.

The amount has gone up from £170,000 in 2017 to an estimated £199,000 for the vote in May, but does not include any expenditure that might be incurred to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

A rise in the number of people choosing to use their postal vote has pushed mail charges up. This, along with staffing, has pushed up the cost.

The £199,000 estimate for holding the election includes £75,000 for the hire and cleaning of polling stations, £49,000 for postal votes, £32,000 on polling cards, £25,000 to cover staffing and sundries for the count and £18,000 on administration and office expenses.

Members at a meeting of the full Moray Council this week agreed arrangements for the preparation and running of the elections, including an information day for prospective candidates to be held in February.

Speyside Glenlivet Councillor Walter Wilson.
Speyside Glenlivet Councillor Walter Wilson.

Independent councillor for Speyside Glenlivet Walter Wilson has asked for more detailed information on the cost of holding the elections.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Wilson said: "The increase seems quite a lot to me, particularly as there are as yet no contingency measures for any Covid-related costs that might be incurred.

"The increase in the number of postal voters accounts for some of the increase, but a fuller explanation would be a good thing considering the council has no option but to incur the costs under statutory obligations."

Around 190 temporary staff will be recruited to work in polling stations, 20 to verify postal votes and another 45 to help at the count.

Local government elections will take place for the 32 Scottish councils on Thursday, May 5 next year.

A total of 26 councillors will be elected across eight multi-member wards in Moray which are each represented by either three or four elected members.

The ballot will be carried out using the single transferable voting system where people can select as many or as few candidates as they like using numbers with one representing their favoured candidate, two for their second and so on.

The count will be carried out electronically and takes place on Friday, May 6, in Elgin Town Hall.

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