Ipswich voters prepare to go to the polls in council election

Ipswich Election Count

The Ipswich election count will start shortly after polls close at 11.30pm. - Credit: JASON NOBLE LDRS

Thursday is election day in Ipswich with seats in all 16 borough council wards up for grabs.

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm and the address of where you should vote is on the Polling Card sent to you recently.

In 15 of the wards you can vote for one candidate which you mark with a cross on the voting slip.

In St John's Ward there is a by-election at the same time so voters there can cast two votes.

Once voting is complete the count will start at the Corn Exchange. As Ipswich is not a large geographical constituency the verification process - ensuring all the voting slips tally with the numbers distributed - can start almost immediately.

At this point postal votes are added to those cast on the day - and more than 30% of voters in Ipswich had been sent postal votes.

The verification is expected to take about 90 minutes and the actual counting of votes is likely to start at about 11.30pm on Thursday.

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The first results are due to be announced some time after 12.30am on Friday morning and the organisers of the count are hoping that the last result will be declared by about 2am.

It's difficult to predict which wards will be the first to declare - but St John's Ward where there are two candidates to be elected and St Margaret's which usually has the highest turn-out in the town are likely to be among the last.

A particularly close result, where there could be a recount, is also likely to delay the declaration.

We should be publishing the results as they come in on our websites and there should be a full report on both the local and national results online early on Friday morning.

The result is unlikely to result in a change in power at the borough - the Conservatives would need to win almost every seat to overturn the current Labour majority - but a strong performance by the Tories could set up a very close result in next year's borough elections.