THOUSANDS of people will head to the polls today for the first local elections since 2019.

Residents will be asked to elect county, and in some areas parish and district councillors, as well as their new police and crime commissioner (PCC).

It comes as last year’s elections were postponed due to the pandemic.

All 81 seats at Surrey County Council and 78 seats at Hampshire County Council are up for grabs.

A county-wide election takes place every four years and voters in all electoral divisions are asked to elect councillors.

The political composition of Surrey County Council is currently: 58 Conservative, nine Liberal Democrats, 11 Residents’ Associations/Independents, one Labour, one Green and one Brexit Party. Hampshire County council is currently made up of 54 Conservatives, 19 Liberal Democrats, one Labour councillor, one unaffiliated independent councillor, one Basingstoke & Deane Independent Group councillor and one Community Campaign Hart councillor.

District elections are also being held in a number of areas across Hampshire, including in Hart. And by-elections are taking place at both district and parish level in Grayshott, Bramshott and Liphook, and Beech.

Due to Covid-19 a number of measures will be in place and there will be no overnight count.

Residents will still be able to cast their votes at polling stations but they will be asked to maintain social distancing and  wear a face mask.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Residents can also take their own  pencil or pen with them if they wish to do so.

If a resident cannot attend the polling station because of coronavirus, their application to vote by proxy must reach councils by 5pm on the day of poll.

Where an appointed long-term proxy considers that they are, or are likely to be unable to attend the polling station on the grounds of following coronavirus advice, the elector can also apply to change the person who is appointed as their proxy.

Applications must  reach councils by 5pm on the day of poll.

The results for the county council elections are expected to be announced on May 7 while the one for the PCC elections will be on May 8.