Voting safely at elections

This page contains information on certain measures to help you vote in a safe way. These measures may mean you have to wait for longer than usual to be able to cast your vote. Try to avoid busy times if you can, like before and after work, after the school run and lunchtime.

For other common elections FAQs, please see our Common Elections FAQs webpage.

Do not attend the polling station if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been asked to self-isolate due to a positive test or contact tracing.

We encourage all electors to wear a face covering while inside the polling station, unless you are exempt.

We encourage all electors to take your own pen or pencil to mark the ballot paper. Pencils will also be available in the polling station.

There will be physical distancing markers in place at polling stations at the recommended distance of 2m. Please maintain an appropriate distance from other people, adhere to any one-way systems in place, and follow any instructions from polling station staff.

You should expect to queue – probably outside - in order to enable adequate distancing. We expect voters to enter and exit the polling station efficiently and not to linger or loiter.

There will be restrictions on the number of voters admitted to a station at once.

Hand sanitiser will be provided upon entry and exit of the polling station.

If an elector cannot reasonably attend the polling station following coronavirus advice, they can make a Covid-19 Emergency application to vote by proxy but it must reach the District council’s Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on polling day.

The Covid Emergency Proxy Application Process – runs from 5pm on the sixth working day before polling day until 5pm on polling day for those voters who become unwell or have to self-isolate as a result of government or medical advice in relation to Covid-19. They can also amend a proxy appointment if their proxy has become unwell or needs to self-isolate because of Covid-19. They have to complete an application form and need to contact the Elections Office for further information. 

Email or call 01529 414155. 

You are asked where possible to attend the polling station alone, not in the company of dependents or even pets if at all possible.

This is not required due to the short time period that each person will be inside the polling station.

Regular cleaning will take place within the polling stations, including regular cleaning of ballot boxes and surfaces.

As usual, disabled voters can be accompanied by someone to help them vote.

Polling staff will be on hand for some assistance whilst observing physical distancing, wearing face coverings and having used had sanitiser.

If your polling station has facilities, it is likely that these will not be available for use. We encourage you take this into account before visiting the polling station.

Yes they can visit, including outside polling stations but they should comply with the Electoral Commission’s Code of Conduct, keeping access to polling places and the pavement clear. Campaigners should be thoughtful to voters in their approach - for example, recognising that some voters may find groups of supporters outside a polling station intimidating. They will be required to comply with all Covid-secure arrangements and follow instructions from the polling station staff.

There will be restrictions on the number of voters admitted to a station at once. This is determined by the size of the polling station and ability to introduce a one-way system. Be assured that we are balancing the need to enable voters to access the polling station efficiently with the need to ensure adequate Covid-security arrangements. We expect voters to enter and exit the polling station efficiently and not to linger or loiter.

Where the polling station capacity allows this, yes. However we encourage only eligible voters to attend the polling stations. Where possible please make arrangements for children, dependents and pets to be accommodated safely away from the polling station in order to speed up the process for everyone involved.