“It will be safe to vote” is the message from Slough Borough Council as they lay out their plans for covid-secure elections.
On Thursday 6 May 2021, elections which were postponed from last year due to covid, will be held in Slough.
Alongside a third of seats on the council, there will also be the chance to vote in the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections and, for those living in Wexham Court Parish area, a by-election for vacant seats on the parish council.
But due to covid and the expected continuing threat of infection from the virus, the traditional election set up will be a little different this year – all to protect residents when they vote.
At the polling stations
There will be a reduced number of people allowed in a polling station at any one time – so social distancing can be maintained and everyone gets their own space.
There may be a bit of a queue outside the venue and one way systems when residents get inside.
People can bring their own pen or pencil to mark the ballot papers – but there will still be clean pencils to use if voters don’t have any themselves.
Masks or face coverings will need to worn inside polling stations unless voters are medically exempt. There may be screens and polling station staff will be wearing masks or visors.
Lots of cleaning will be going on throughout polling day and polling staff will be cleaning down polling booths and any areas which would be touched by voters, when they vote.
And there will plenty of hand sanitiser for everyone to use on the way in and the way out.
Do it by post
If residents would rather not come to a polling station – due to covid or any reason – they can vote by post.
Anyone can apply to vote by post – as long as they are on the electoral register.
People can apply online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote and return your form to our elections office at Observatory House, 25 Windsor Road, Slough Borough Council, SL1 2EL or e-mail the form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications have to be made by 5pm on Tuesday 20 April 2021.
Voters already registered for a postal vote do not need to register again.
Once registered, you will receive your ballot paper by post two weeks before the day of the election. You must ensure you return your completed postal vote by Election Day, or your vote will not be counted.
Josie Wragg, Returning Officer for Slough and the council’s chief executive, said: “I would urge residents not to be put off voting – whether in person or by post.
“Unfortunately the threat of covid is still around, but we are doing all we can to make sure residents are protected when coming to vote at a polling station, or can safely and securely vote by post.
“Yes things will be a little bit different, there might be the occasional queue or two and counting will be more spaced out but democracy and your democratic right to vote will be secure and covid safe.”