Voting safely at the 2021 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.

A face covering must be worn while at the polling station unless you are exempt.

On this occasion, for Covid-security, you are advised to take your own pen or pencil to mark the ballot paper. Pencils will also be available in the polling station.

Social distancing will be in place while queuing and throughout the voting process. 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 Thursday 6 May. Process as above.

The Covid Emergency Proxy Application Process – runs from 5pm on April 27, 2021 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. 

All Covid-compliance arrangements and requirements are in place. You should expect the same conditions and considerations as you do when out shopping or at the hairdressers. 

We are putting arrangements in place to make sure polling stations are safe places to vote. You will notice several differences at polling stations when you go to vote to ensure the safety of all voters and election staff. 

The testing of voters is not mandatory; however, we would like to encourage testing prior to voting if you can. To help keep our elections safe our election teams are being offered tests prior to the elections.

Voters can also access rapid lateral flow testing through the Community Testing Programme. These tests provide a result in 30 minutes and can be taken either at home or at an asymptomatic testing sites. To find out where your nearest test site or community collection point is please visit the NHS Track and Trace website.

Kits can be ordered for delivery to your home from the website. It generally takes two days for delivery.

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 social 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.