Voters go to the polls in crunch elections

TODAY is the first chance for the people of Suffolk to comment on the current state of British politics as polls open for European and county council elections.

TODAY is the first chance for the people of Suffolk to comment on the current state of British politics as polls open for European and county council elections.

The Conservatives are defending a substantial majority at Endeavour House and it would be a major surprise if they are ousted from power at the county.

Much of the attention will be focussed on the results in Ipswich where the Tories won only one of the 13 seats back in 2005 - even though they lead the borough council.

This time they will be hoping to increase their representation in the county town - although there is concern at the impact of candidates from the BNP in parts of Ipswich.

The European elections only give voters the chance to vote for their favourite party or named independents - and Suffolk is part of a huge regional constituency which will elect seven MEPs to Brussels and Strasbourg.

Polling stations are open until 10pm tonight - but don't expect to know the official results when you wake up in the morning.

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Counting of the county council votes does not start until lunchtime tomorrow - the results are expected to be announced during the early afternoon.

The Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times will carry a full county council results service on Saturday - and they will be published on this website as soon as they are announced on Friday afternoon.

Counting of the European elections does not start until 3pm on Sunday. The results will not be declared until after 9pm by which time polling stations will have closed across Europe.

The results of the European elections will be published in Monday's Evening Star - and will also be on line on Sunday evening as soon as they are announced.

The votes are being counted by district or borough councils - votes from Ipswich are being counted at the IP-City centre near the west bank of the Orwell.

The county votes will be declared at the counts - but on Sunday the European votes will all be sent to Huntingdon for a final declaration of the regional result.