CANDIDATES have thrown down the gauntlet as voting for local council elections gets underway.

The names of the candidates who will stand in the upcoming local elections have been revealed.

Thousands of people are set to head to the polls to cast their vote today.

One third of the council is up for election in Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester while all seats at up for grabs at Test Valley Borough Council and New Forest District Council.

More than 70 people will fight for the 16 seats on Southampton City Council, with some big names in the hat for election.

Among those there are Labour councillors Jaqui Rayment, cabinet member for transport and public realm and Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for homes and culture.

Cllr Rayment and Cllr Kaur will stand for Bevois ward and Shirley ward respectively.

Most of the seats in the city will be contested by serving councillors, but some of them are set to see new candidates.

This will include Redbridge ward, as Southampton Independents councillor Andrew Pope is not set to stand again.

Meanwhile, Test Valley Borough Council  and New Forest District Council could have a completely new set of members holding their seats.

Across Test Valley,  residents will vote for candidates to take over the area’s new 43 wards, after a shake-up of the boundaries.

This  will mean that the current 48 members will be reduced by five, with many fighting for seats that they weren’t holding before.

One of those will be leader of Test Valley Borough Council Phil North, whose Alamein seat will be dissolved.

Seats are also up for grabs at Eastleigh Borough Council and Winchester City Council but a full list of the candidates has not been released yet.

The poll are open until 10pm.