Elections are a democratic process conducted strictly in accordance with statutory criteria. All elections are conducted within a statutory timetable, which will be published at the time the election is called. The Returning Officer who is appointed by the Council is responsible for the conduct of elections and referenda held within the city boundary; these include but are not limited to:
European Parliamentary election - fixed term - five years
Members are elected to the European Parliament on a fixed five year term of office. Gosport is part of the South East Region consisting of 67 local authorities which currently elects 10 members under a proportional representation voting system.
Parliamentary election - must be held within five years
There is one parliamentary constituency within the borough boundary. Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to Parliament for a five year period. However, the Government may hold the Parliamentary Election at any time within the five year period, upon dissolution of Parliament. There is one MP per constituency.
Local Borough Council election - every other year
There are 17 wards in Gosport, each represented by two Councillors. Elections in Gosport are by halves, and are traditionally held on the first Thursday in May. Councillors are elected for a four-year term and one councillor per ward retires every other year.
By-election - when required
If an elected member is no longer available to represent the electorate, a by-election can be called at any time for all types of election. The statutory time table for by-elections is the same as the timetable used for the relevant main election. This will be published at the time an election is called.
By-elections can be called for various reasons including:
Referenda - when required
The Borough Council or central Government can organise referenda on a variety of issues. The last national referendum was in 2011 when the government tested the country's view on whether to change our voting system to the Alternate Vote.
Regional elections cover more than one local authority area, for example European Parliamentary elections, Police and Crime Commissioner elections. The governing body in charge of conducting these elections across the UK appoint Regional or Area Returning Officers.
In recent years, the Returning Officer for Southampton City Council has also been appointed as the relevant election Regional/Area Returning Officer.