Weeks of planning will come to a close this Thursday morning when polling stations around Waverley and East Hampshire open to the public.

The stations around our constituencies were selected way before a sodden Rishi Sunak confirmed in the rain outside 10 Downing Street that July 4 would be election day.

But the arrival of a document from the monarch of the time is when it starts to get real for councils.

Once a date is agreed and parliament is dissolved, The King sends councils a ‘royal writ’ asking them to organise an election. 

The tradition might conjure up images of a sealed parchment being delivered by a man on horseback, but the reality is much less romantic.

The writ sent to East Hampshire District Council in 2015 was delivered by Royal Mail in a secure van, while it arrived via a motorbike this time round.

The writ states: “Whereas Parliament has dissolved, We Command you that due notice being first given you do cause election to be made according to law of a Member to serve In Parliament for the said Constituency And that you do cause the name of such Member when so elected whether he be present or absent to be certified to Us in Our Chancery without delay.”

And breathe...

Waverley and Winchester have also received the same writ, along with every counterpart around the country, while it’s considered important enough to be kept in a fireproof safe until the result is confirmed.

When the winning parliamentary candidate is announced the returning officer writes the winner’s name on the writ before its return to the Clerk of the Crown.

Matthew Tiller has that honour in East Hampshire in a role that dates back to the middle of the 19th century when electoral reforms were introduced.

He will also announce the winner on the night after the votes have all been counted out and verified in Petersfield Festival Hall.

Returning the writ has given rise to Mr Tiller’s election title of returning officer. The returning officer is actually the High Sheriff of Hampshire, but the title is honorary rather than active.

* The candidates have done their bit – now it’s your turn to exercise your democratic right and get voting.

By this time next week we will know who will be representing the likes of Farnham & Bordon, East Hampshire, Winchester, Godalming & Ash, Aldershot and Arundel & The South Downs in the hallowed halls of Westminster.

And we want to be the first to tell you who got the nod. So we’ve been filling up our cupboards with instant coffee, energy drinks and chocolate in readiness for an all-nighter.

The Herald & Post team will have reporters at counts around our patch from Winchester to Waverley and will be giving updates throughout the night on our websites and live blog.

Expect the winners of the Winchester and East Hants contests to be announced around dawn, and a bit later for the Farnham & Bordon and Godalming & Ash counts.