‘Bring a pencil if you can!’ – Public urged to take care and vote safely in today’s local elections
Voters are being encouraged to cast their ballot in the local elections today but are reminded to do so safely – and to bring their own pen or pencil to the polling station if they can.
They are also asked to wear face coverings unless exempt and follow the usual social distancing and Covid-secure measures they will be familiar with from shops and other indoor venues.
The District Councils’ Network, which represents many of the returning officers responsible for organising today’s elections, is urging people to vote safely and expect things to be different to the usual voting process.
District councils have been working hard to make sure polling stations are Covid-safe-and-secure. They are carrying out regular cleaning throughout the day, providing floor markings and signage to manage queues and guide voters, screens to separate staff and voters, and providing hand sanitiser. Spare clean pencils and masks are also likely to be available.
For some voters, their local polling station might look different this time, with some councils using museums and theatres and other spaces as usual venues may be used as vaccination centres or too small to conduct with social distancing restrictions.
To help ensure the elections run smoothly, councils are asking voters to:-
- Not to attend polling stations if they are self-isolating or have coronavirus symptoms – and to apply for an emergency proxy vote where someone votes on your behalf
- Wear a face covering unless exempt
- Bring their own pen or pencil if they can – however clean ones will be provided in case people forget
- Use hand sanitiser to clean hands when entering and exiting polling stations
- Observe safe social distancing
- Expect voting to take a little longer this year – stations may close briefly during the day for cleaning
Bill Cullen, Chair of the District Councils’ Network’s Chief Executive Group, said:
“This year’s local elections will be like no other, taking place during a pandemic.
“Councils have pulled out all the stops to try and make them run as smoothly, safely and normally as possible. Voters should be reassured that polling stations have been made Covid-safe and secure, and staff will be on hand to help people safely exercise their right to vote.
“However, we need members of the public to play their part, by following a few, simple safety measures, which they will be familiar with from attending any indoor location.
“Although we would ask people to be prepared that it might take a little longer than usual to cast their vote, and to bring their own pen or pencil if they can, though we will hold plenty of spares.”
Notes to editors
The District Councils’ Network (DCN) is a cross-party member led network providing a single voice to 180 district councils. District councils in England deliver 86 out of 137 essential local government services to over 22 million people – 40 per cent of the population – and cover 68 per cent of the country by area. They play a key role in local communities, providing services such as building homes, collecting waste, regenerating town centres, preventing homelessness, keeping streets clean and maintaining parks.
Contact: District Councils’ Network press office 020 7664 3333
Date published: 06.05.2021