Seven ways we are keeping voters safe at Polling Stations
On Thursday 6 May residents in South Somerset will have their say on who represents them at the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election, some town and parish council by-elections and also neighbourhood plan referendums in Queen Camel and Martock are also taking place.
But how are we making those Polling Stations COVID-secure for those who want to vote in person?
Here are just seven things we are putting in place for the 6 May elections:
If you would like, we are encouraging you to bring your own pencil or pen so that you don't need to handle those in the voting booths.
As per current Government guidelines, we are asking you to ensure that you wear a mask when inside the Polling Station.
We ask that you adhere to the current guidance on social distancing and maintain a safe distance from others inside the Polling Station and if there is a queue outside or you bump into someone you know when coming to cast your vote.
Hand sanitiser will be readily available for you to use when entering the Polling Station.
All surfaces that you may come into contact with will be wiped down regularly by our Polling Station staff. This is an important task that all staff have been asked to ensure is done.
When you come up to receive your ballot paper and to give your name and address or to show your Poll Card, a screen will be in place between you and the Polling Station staff.
Where possible, we'll make sure that a one way system is in place at Polling Stations to avoid situations where you will be face-to-face with other people.
We are risk assessing all our Polling Stations as part of our COVID-secure measure.
In order to vote in these important elections, residents must be on the electoral register. With the deadline to register to vote fast approaching, South Somerset District Council is urging people who have not registered at their current address to make sure they are registered in time.
The deadline to register to vote is midnight on Monday 19 April. It takes just five minutes to apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.
This year residents in South Somerset could be voting in three different elections, depending on where you live:
- If you live in the following parishes (Chard Town - Holyrood Ward, Crewkerne Town, Haslebury Plucknett, Kingsbury Episcopi, Somerton Town, South Petherton, Wincanton Town), you will be voting to fill vacant Parish Councillor roles in your town and parish council.
- The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), who oversees your local police force and ensures they are prioritising what matters to you
- Neighbourhood Plan referendums in Queen Camel and Martock
Voters have a range of options for casting their ballot – in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. For those who choose to vote in person, polling stations will be safe places to vote on 6 May.
The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 20 April, and for a proxy vote the deadline is 5pm on 27 April.
For more information on the Town and Parish Council elections in South Somerset, please visit www.southsomerset.gov.uk/elections-and-voting.
For more information on the Police and Crime Commissioner election please visit www.avonpccelection.org.uk.