Kilwinning residents are heading to the polling stations today to choose a new councillor.

A by-election is being held following the death in February of Conservative councillor John Glover. who had been one of the ward's councillors since 2017.

The candidates are: Ian Charles Gibson (Scottish Family Party - Putting Families First); Sheila Gibson (Scottish National Party); Mary Hume (Scottish Labour Party); Ruby Kirkwood (Scottish Liberal Democrats); and Chris Lawler (Scottish Conservative and Unionist).

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: DirransDirrans (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

For those who have yet to vote today, six polling places will remain open until 10pm tonight.

They are: Cranberry Moss Community Centre, Cambusdoon Place; The Dirrans Centre, Dirrans Terrace; Mansefield Trinity Church, West Doura Way; Nethermains Community Centre, Nethermains Road; William Love Memorial Hall, Moncur Road;  Woodwynd Hall, David Gage Street.

The by-election will use the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system where voters mark their preference in numerical order, rather than by means of an X as happens in General Elections.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Love Memorial HallLove Memorial Hall (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

Voters should mark a 1 next to their first choice, 2 next to their second, 3 next to their third and so on. There's no requirement to rank all the candidates, though you can, and many do.

The way the count itself is carried out is a bit complicated to explain, but the number of votes required to win - the 'quota' - depends on the number of valid ballot papers cast, with the quota being 50 per cent of those valid ballots, plus one vote.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Mansfield ChurchMansfield Church (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

If no candidate meets the quota in the first round of voting, the candidate with the smallest number of 'first choice' votes is eliminated, with their votes transferred to other candidates until one reaches the quota and is declared the winner.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: NethermainsNethermains (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

The count, which is carried out electronically for local elections, will be held on Friday, May 10, with the result expected to be announced the same day. 

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Woodwynd HallWoodwynd Hall (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

(Photos: Charlie Gilmour)