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Casual Vacancies and by-elections


A seat can become vacant in different ways. It can be due to the resignation of a councillor, the passing away of a councillor, the disqualification (or ceasing to be qualified) of a councillor, or a failure to take up office after being elected.

Town and Community Councils

When a councillor's seat becomes vacant the Town/Community Clerk will display a 'Notice of Vacancy' in the community area.

This notice explains that an election can be held if a request is made in writing to the Returning Officer by 10 electors from the community area. If the community area is warded, the request must only come from people in that ward.  The request must be within 14 working days of the date of the notice.

If an election is requested it must be held within 60 days of when the notice went up. If there isn’t a request to hold an election then the Town/Community Council are able to co-opt someone into the vacant seat.

This means the Town/Community Council can choose who they wish to appoint to fill the seat, instead of holding an election.

County Council

When a councillor's seat becomes vacant a 'Notice of Vacancy' advertises the fact that there is a vacancy.

The notice explains that an election can be held if a request is made in writing to the Returning Officer by 2 electors from the electoral area. If an election is requested it must be held within 35 days of when the notice went up.

The exception to this is if a vacancy occurs within 6 months of the date of the next scheduled elections. If this happens the vacancy is carried over to the next elections. The seat will remain vacant and no by-election will be held.