VOTERS are being urged to make their voices heard by visiting the ballot box today.
Seats on all three of the Fylde coast’s borough councils are up for grabs at the local elections, while a referendum on voting reform is also taking place nationwide.
Candidates were today expected to campaign right up until the last votes are cast with polling stations open until 10pm.
Many residents have also used postal votes.
In Blackpool, Labour is hoping to regain control of the town hall after losing power to the Tories in 2007.
Labour group leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “We feel we’re on the cusp of a great victory here but it relies on all those people who have said they are going to vote Labour, going out and voting Labour.
“It’s a push now all the way to the line.
“We’re confident we are offering a programme the people of Blackpool have endorsed and there is an appetite for change.”
Conservative leader Coun Peter Callow urged voters to “trust” in his party.
He added: “I want people to go out and support what the council here is trying to do and is achieving in transforming Blackpool from the stag and hen capital to the family resort it once used to be.
“That’s what the people of the town tell me they want and that’s what we are giving them. I’m saying put your trust in me and this administration because the town is in good hands.”
Liberal Democrat leader Coun Douglas Green said a high turnout would give elected councillors a stronger mandate in the democratic process.
He said: “I want to take power from the council officers and give it back to the elected members but the lower the turnout, the more power officers feel they have.
“If people want a say in the way this town is run, they have to go out and vote. A lot of our council officers don’t even live in the borough and it’s residents who get stuck with the problems.”
There are also elections today for St Annes and Fleetwood town councils, and parish elections in Wyre.
Meanwhile, the Alternative Vote referendum will see people asked to choose between retaining the existing “first past the post” system for Parliamentary elections, or the AV system which would see voters rank candidates in order of preference in their constituency.
If the AV system was introduced, only ﬁrst preference votes are counted initially and if one candidate secures more than 50 per cent they are elected. But if that does not happen, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their second choices allocated to the remaining nominees in a second round of counting.
This continues until one candidate gets more than half the vote.