Around 3,300 seats are being contested. In most areas the ballots for the local elections will not be counted until the morning of 2 May.
Most authorities are hoping to have their final results by the end of the day.
Since the last county elections Avon, Cleveland, Humberside and Berkshire councils have been abolished. New unitaries Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Poole and Portsmouth will hold elections for the first time since going live.
The current balance of power within the Local Government Association, calculated as a percentage, is Labour 52%, Liberal Democrats 21.8%, Conservative 20.2% and Independent 6%.
The new balance will be calculated at the end of May according to the number of seats held on each council.
More than a tenth of the council seats up for election will not be contested by Conservative candidates.
The party is fielding candidates for only 84% of seats in the 21 new unitary authorities while Labour will contest 97%.