COVID-19: how we will protect voters and staff
COVID-19: how we will protect voters and staff
A range of measures are being put in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 at the elections on 6 May.
We have worked with the Electoral Commission and Public Health experts in order to make polling stations as secure as possible, and the elections are being delivered in accordance with the Government’s Polls Delivery Plan.
Voting by post or proxy
If you do not wish to visit a polling station, you can always apply to vote by post. If you wish to apply for a postal vote, we would urge you to do so as soon as possible to ensure your application can be processed in time. The deadline to submit your application for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday 20 April.
You may also wish to vote by proxy, which is where you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Find out more about voting by post or proxy.
Measures being taken at polling stations
Polling stations will be designed to maximise physical distancing and minimise the risk of infection.
• Everyone inside a polling station, including our staff, will be required to wear a face mask unless they are exempt
• Signs will be put in place to remind anyone entering the polling station that they should only do so if well and free of coronavirus symptoms.
• One-way systems will be in place where possible, and floor markings will be used to help with social distancing
• Perspex screens will be put in place between polling station staff and voters
• Hand sanitiser will be made available on entry and exit to the polling station
• Voting booths will be cleaned regularly throughout the day
• Voters will be encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil, but polling station staff will also make pencils available and clean them between each use.
Help us minimise risk
We ask that you help us on Polling Day by:
• Wearing a face mask in the polling station at all times unless you are exempt – you will be asked to do so.
• Respecting the physical distancing measures in place.
• Using the hand sanitiser provided throughout.
• Staying in the polling station for as short a period as possible and avoiding chatting to staff or fellow voters.
• Bringing your own pen or pencil to mark your ballot paper, if you can
• Trying not to bring children with you unless it is unavoidable.
Campaigning advice for candidates and agents (as of 8 March 2021)
Changes have been made to the COVID-19 legislation to allow door-to-door campaigning activity ahead of the elections on 6 May 2021.
Candidates and agents should follow the advice below, remembering that the rules regarding social distancing and limits on gatherings should be adhered to at all times.
• Leaflets may be delivered by campaigners or those working on behalf of candidates or political parties.
• The number of campaigners operating together should be kept to an absolute minimum and a minimum two metres distance should be maintained between them at all times.
• Campaigners should not enter a private home. The only exception is for shared hallways in blocks of flats where that is the only way to reach individual homes. Canvassing within these shared internal areas should only be carried out by a single campaigner, unless it is unsafe to do so.
• Campaigners may speak to electors on their doorsteps, maintaining at least 2 metres distance at all times.
• Campaigners should ensure that all necessary mitigations are applied, including the wearing of face coverings, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other people, and sanitising hands between visiting different households.
• Campaigners should not meet with other campaigners indoors. It is safer to meet outdoors but 2 metre social distancing should still be maintained.
• Operational collection and delivery of campaign literature should be handled on a click and drop, or doorstep drop procedure. Only rarely will two people be required indoors at the same location to manage bulk delivery handling.
• Meetings to organise and plan campaigns should be held online or over the phone. They should not take place in person. Where campaigners must attend in person, for example to collect printed materials, this should be organised on a one-by-one basis.
• Hustings and public meetings must take place remotely.
• Prior to any campaigning, participants should undertake a risk assessment.
• Campaigners should wear a face covering when meeting anybody they do not live with, whether electors or other campaigners
Guidance from 29 March 2021
The provision for six people or two households to meet outdoors may support organisational work by campaigners and the holding of meetings outdoors. At this stage, there will be no change to the rules on meeting others indoors. This means that the rules on doorstep campaigning will not change.
All campaigning activity will need to follow the relevant rules on gatherings and social distancing. If it is necessary to meet electors, campaigners should continue to do so outdoors, for example on the doorstep, and should not enter people’s homes.