Prior to the formation of the unitary authority in 2009, the county was divided into a number of second tier districts. The following articles detail the local elections to those district councils. The Borough of Darlington has formed a unitary authority outside the area covered by the County Council since 1997.
The inaugural elections to Durham County Council took place in January 1889. Durham was divided into 72 electoral divisions, with candidates in 32 divisions being returned unopposed. The election saw control of the council being taken by Conservative candidates, although these candidates were largely Independent conservatives as opposed to being party activists.
Elections to Durham County Council took place on 5 May 2005 as part of the 2005 local elections in the United Kingdom. The election also took place on the same day as the 2005 general election. This was the council's final election before it became a unitary authority as part of changes to local government in 2009, with the first elections to the new unitary council taking place in 2008. New electoral division boundaries were introduced for this election, with 63 divisions returning one councillor each using the first past the post voting system.Labour kept control of the council with 53 seats. The Liberal Democrats were second with five seats and the Conservatives won two seats. There were also three independents elected, including two from the Derwentside Independents group.
Elections to Durham County Council took place on 1 May 2008, along with other local elections in the UK. This was the first election to the unitary authority established as part of the 2009 changes to local government, and all seats were up for election using the first past the post voting system. The election saw the council double in size to 126 councillors, with 63 electoral divisions each returning two members.Labour kept control of the council with 67 seats. The Liberal Democrats were second with 27 seats and the Conservatives won 10. There were also 22 independents elected.
An election to Durham County Council took place on 2 May 2013 as part of the 2013 United Kingdom local elections. Following a boundary review, 126 councillors were elected from 63 electoral divisions which returned either one, two or three councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office. The previous election took place in 2008 in advance of the council becoming a unitary authority after the 2009 changes to local government. The election saw the Labour Party increase their majority on the council.
All locally registered electors (British, Commonwealth and European Union citizens) who were aged 18 or over on Thursday 2 May 2013 were entitled to vote in the local elections. Those who were temporarily away from their ordinary address (for example, away working, on holiday, in student accommodation or in hospital) were also entitled to vote in the local elections, although those who had moved abroad and registered as overseas electors cannot vote in the local elections. It is possible to register to vote at more than one address (such as a university student who had a term-time address and lives at home during holidays) at the discretion of the local Electoral Register Office, but it remains an offence to vote more than once in the same local government election.
The 2017 Durham County Council election was held on 4 May 2017 as part of the 2017 local elections in the United Kingdom. All 126 councillors were elected from 63 electoral divisions which returned either one, two or three county councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office.
The Statement of Persons Nominated was published on 5 April 2017.
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