The Scottish National Party has retained its seat as the first north-east by-election was held during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aberdeenshire Council held the Ellon and District by-election count today, with voting taking place on Thursday.
SNP’s Louise McAllister narrowly beat out the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party’s candidate John Paul Crawley to take the seat.
She will join fellow SNP Councillor Anouk Kloppert, as well as Conservative Councillor Gillian Owen and Liberal Democrat Councillor Isobel Davidson in representing the area.
The seat was left empty after former SNP councillor Richard Thomson stepped down earlier this year, following his election as MP for Gordon.
Scottish National Party Candidate Louise McAllister has been chosen as the new Aberdeenshire councillor for Ellon and…
Louise was elected with 1,683 votes, while Conservative candidate John Paul Crawley received 1,658 votes.
Liberal Democrat candidate Trevor Booth Mason received 405 votes, while Scottish Labour Party’s John David Bennett had 114 votes and Scottish Green Party’s Peter Alexander Kennedy finished with 112.
In total, there was 3,972 successful ballot papers received with 2,451 of those postal votes and 34 rejected ballots.
In the electorate of 11,893, there was a 33.7% turnout.
Here are the results of the #Ellon and District by-election:
John Bennett – Lab – 114 votes
John Paul Crawley – Con – 1,658 votes
Peter Kennedy – Green – 112 votes
Trevor Mason – Lib Dem – 405 votes
Louise Mcallister – SNP – 1,683 votes
— AberdeenshireCouncil (@Aberdeenshire) October 16, 2020
Ms McAllister said she was delighted to have been elected.
She said: “I feel wonderful, it’s absolutely amazing. Those first few minutes were real heart-stopping stuff. I am just absolutely thrilled and delighted.
“I’m expecting a lot of emails and contacts, people have already been getting in touch pre-polling day which has been fantastic, so I’ll have some work to do straight away.
“I’m really about now going back over everything I’ve discussed with people over the lead up to the by-election and getting a real feel for what’s important, not just in the town centre, but in the district as a whole.
“I think it’s important that we are an area, and by working together, we have an awful lot to offer not only the residents of the area but also those from outside the area who choose to come and visit.”
She added: “It was a very close vote, I think it probably was always going to be the way. There’s no secret about that, and I’ll take the good of it.
“I’ve been given this opportunity and I hope everyone in the area knows that regardless of how they voted if they come to me with an issue I’ll certainly do my best to resolve that and do my best along the way as I can.”
It is the first time a by-election has been held in the north-east since the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK.
Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Jim Savege said a lot of work had gone into the planning and execution of not just the count, but also polling, to ensure staff and members of the public felt safe.
He added: “There’s been a lot more work and diligence for the team to be able to make sure it’s a safe process.
“The fundamentals have been the same in terms of polling stations.
“I think democracy is super important and I’d always want to see a 100% turnout, but that’s maybe a bit too optimistic.
“I think we had a lower increase in postal votes than I thought there might be, which just shows people are still willing and wanting to come to the polling station and cast their vote. If the vote had been in the 20% I would have been disappointed. It’s important that democracy continues.”