AN election to Highland Council was officially called today.
Nominations for candidates for the 2017 Highland Council election are now being sought for the local government elections, which take place on Thursday, May 4.
A total of 74 councillors will be appointed to represent the council in 21 electoral wards, each with three or four elected members.
In Ross-shire, wards include Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh (four places); Cromarty Firth (4); Tain and Easter Ross (3); Dingwall and Seaforth (4) and the Black Isle (3).
The deadline for nominations is 4pm on Wednesday, March 29.
The returning officer for the election is Steve Barron, who is the chief executive of Highland Council.
In the lead-up to the election, a series of briefings for prospective candidates have been held in Inverness; Fort William; Skye; Dingwall; Golspie and Wick which, says Highland Council, have been well attended.
Voting will be taking place on May 4 in 267 polling stations with the option for people to use a postal vote.
If you choose to vote by post then you cannot vote in person at a polling station.
The votes will be counted electronically the following day at Inverness Leisure.
Nomination forms can be downloaded from the council’s website www.highland.gov.uk/elections along with information on where candidates for particular wards need to return their forms to. Forms can also be obtained by telephoning 01349 886657.
Completed nomination papers must be delivered no later than 4pm on Wednesday, March 29 to the appropriate depute returning officer. They are unable to accept nomination papers electronically.
An election helpline has been set up by the returning officer to assist the public and candidates with any queries. The number is 01349 886657.
If an elector is away or cannot go to the polling station on May 4, they can apply to vote by post or apply to vote by proxy. To find out how to apply, call the helpline immediately.
Extensive information about the elections is also posted on Highland Council’s website – www.highland.gov.uk. This includes information for anyone considering standing on the different aspects of a councillor’s role so they are prepared if successfully elected. There are also links to the Electoral Commission site where guidance and resources are available for candidates and their agents.