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Ward (politics)

From Academic Kids

A ward is an electoral district used in local politics, most notably in England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and many cities in the United States and the federal district of Washington, DC.

Wards are usually named after neighbourhoods, thoroughfares, parishes, landmarks, geographical features and in some cases historical figures connected to the area. It is common in the US for city wards to simply be numbered, however.


United Kingdom

A ward in the United Kingdom is an electoral district represented by one or more councillors. It is the primary unit of UK administrative and electoral geography (except in the Isles of Scilly).

As of 2004 there are 10,661 electoral wards in the UK, with an average population of 5,500 (Office for National Statistics (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/electoral_wards.asp)).

In urban areas the wards within a local authority area generally contain roughly the same number of electors and elect three councillors. In local authorities with mixed urban and rural areas the number of councillors may vary from one to three depending on the size of the electorate.

A ward can be co-terminious with a civil parish or consist of groups of civil parishes. Also larger civil parishes can be divided into two or more wards.

United States

In the United States wards usually have leaders elected by the party committee members within their boundaries. Ward leaders are often major forces within the political and civic life of their neighborhoods, influencing zoning, the provision of governmental services, patronage, and the selection of candidates for office. Winning the leadership of a ward helped launch the Kennedy and Daley families, among many others, into elective office. Other cities in the US, such as Minneapolis use the term ward to refer to an elective district of their city councils, and is not used in party leadership elections.

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