Shetland’s returning officer is urging those living in the Central ward to turn out in force for tomorrow’s by-election to replace retired SIC councillor Iris Hawkins.
Six candidates on an all-male shortlist – Stephen Morgan, Clive Richardson, David Sandison, Ian Scott, Scotty Van Der Tol and Robert Williamson – are all hoping to chosen to represent the ward for five months ahead of a full set of SIC elections in May.
Voting takes place between 7am and 10pm tomorrow. The polling station for Girlsta and Gott residents is Tingwall Hall. Voters in Scalloway will use the village’s public hall, while Trondra and Burra residents’ polling place is Burra Public Hall.
The result will be declared following the count in Lerwick Town Hall on Friday morning, expected to be complete by around 11.30am.
Returning officer Jan Riise stressed his wish that young voters in particular would take the opportunity to exercise their democratic right for the first time.
“Traditionally, Shetland has a record of good turnout figures for elections,” Mr Riise said. “Although turnouts of 50-60 per cent are regularly recorded, some wards in Shetland have registered turnouts in excess of 70 per cent in the past. It would be good to maintain this level of public involvement in local politics when choosing a new councillor for the central ward.”
Mr Riise added that, for the first time, the count will be broadcast live via video link in the council chamber at the town hall from 9.30am onwards on Friday. “This is the first time we have broadcast the count in this way and I would encourage anyone with an interest in local politics to come along and watch the conclusion of what is hoped to be an exciting by-election.”