Types of Elections

Local government

The Local Government Elections for the council are held every year for three years on the first Thursday in May. One of each of the three seats in the ward is up for election each year. The fourth year is a 'fallow' year when there are no elections. 

Approximately one month prior to the day of any election, we publish an election timetable. This shows key dates for the election. The most significant dates are those for the nomination of candidates and the deadline for postal and proxy vote applications.

For a local election, the deadline for nominations is 12 noon 19 working days prior to the days of the election.

Parish councils

Elections for the three Parish Councils (Blackrod, Horwich, and Westhoughton) are held every four years. They are held on the same day as the council elections. All Parish Council seats are up for election.


Parliamentary Elections (or General Elections) are held every five years. They can be held sooner if two thirds of the House of Commons votes to have an early parliamentary election or if there is a vote of no confidence in the government and a new government cannot be formed within 14 days.

For further information, please see the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011


A referendum is a vote on a single issue.

Each referendum has different rules on who can vote in it.

For example, if there is a proposal to have a mayor, we must hold a referendum. Many councils in England have already conducted consultations with local people on this issue. You can also require a mayoral referendum by organising a petition signed by 5% of local electors or more.

Local Polls are a form of referendum that we can carry out to test public opinion within the borough. Local Polls can take place with the use of traditional polling stations or by all-postal ballot. The results of such polls are not binding on us. The recent referendum on the Greater Manchester congestion charge is an example of such a poll.  


European Parliamentary Elections are held in June every five years.

If you require any further information please contact us.