Parish polls

A poll may be demanded before the end of a parish meeting on any question arising at the meeting. The purpose of the parish poll is to ascertain whether the opinion of the meeting reflects that of the majority of electors in the parish. Polls can be held in respect of a particular question or in relation to an appointment of office. It is important to note that the result is in no way binding on any organisations or authority. It is very much like an opinion poll. The provisions for parish polls are contained in Schedule 12 of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

There are differences between usual council elections, and a parish poll, which are highlighted in our FAQ.

Whitby Parish Poll – Monday 13th June

A Parish Poll was demanded at a meeting of the Whitby Parish (Whitby Town) held on Thursday 12 May 2022. Two questions were proposed and agreed, and a poll was held on Monday 13th June to pose the questions to the residents of Whitby Parish.

Publication of the Notice of Poll (PDF, 125KB) Friday 27th May 2022
Notice of Results Tuesday 14 June 2022



What is a parish poll?

The Local Government Act 1972 makes provision for electors of a parish to convene a meeting to discuss parish affairs. Furthermore, the Act also includes a provision whereby, provided the parish meeting has been properly constituted, any ten electors or a third of the electors present – whichever number is the less – may call for a poll to be held on a question.

Who decides what the question(s) will be on the ballot paper?

The question is put forward at the meeting by a proposer, and the wording of the question is then resolved upon by the parish meeting. The question must be something that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The question must be clear, unambiguous, and not lend itself to vague or double-negative answers. Once the wording has been agreed at the meeting it cannot be changed. There can be more than one question proposed and agreed. The question must be in relation to something which constitutes a ‘parish affair’.

What happens with the result of the poll?

The count of the votes will follow the close of polling and the result will be publicised. The outcome of the poll is no more and no less than an expression of the views of the electorate of the parish who have voted in the poll and is not binding on any organisation.

Who pays for the costs of the poll?

The poll obviously costs money to hold: in staff time, the hire of polling stations, the printing of ballot papers, etc. This is recharged to the parish council, under Section 150 (2 and 7) of the Local Government Act 1972. 

Why are polling hours so short?

In accordance with the Parish and Community Meetings (Polls) Rules 1987 the polling hours for a parish poll are from 4 pm. until 9 pm.

Will I get a poll card to take to the polling station?

No. In accordance with the Parish and Community Meetings (Polls) Rules 1987, there is no provision for a poll card to be sent to electors.

I usually vote by post, why didn’t I get a postal vote?

In accordance with the Parish and Community Meetings (Polls) Rules 1987, there is no provisions for voting by post or by proxy, so to vote, everyone must go to a polling station to have their say.

What else differs from other polls/elections?

The paper is stamped with an official mark as it is handed to the voter, rather than being pre-printed on the ballot paper