Everything you need to know about the elections on Thursday 6th May in South Somerset
If you are voting in the elections on Thursday 6th May, there’s a lot to process and a lot for you to consider. As the authority responsible for administering elections here across South Somerset, here’s everything you need to know about the different elections that are soon taking place:
What are you voting on?
Here is South Somerset, there are only a small number of elections taking place. These include:
- If you live in the following parishes (Chard Town - Holyrood Ward, Crewkerne Town, Haslebury Plucknett, Kingsbury Episcopi, Somerton Town, South Petherton, Wincanton Town), you may 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
Who is standing in each election?
For each election being held, a Statement of Persons Nominated is produced. You can view who is standing for election for each of the Parish / town elections, the Police and Crime Commissioner election and also the Neighbourhood Plan referendum. You can view all of the Statements of Persons Nominated on our ‘Current elections’ website page.
How can I vote?
Firstly, you must be registered to vote. The deadline for registering to vote has now passed and if you are registered, you should have received a Poll Card in the post which details how you can vote at a Polling Station. If you have applied for a postal vote, you would have received your postal voting pack by now and you are able to return it before the 10pm deadline on Thursday 6th May.
Voting at a Polling Station
Voting stations are open from 7am until 10pm. We are not expecting to see queues at the polling stations, but if you are in the queue when 10pm strikes, you are legally able to vote (if registered).
When you arrive at your polling station which is detailed on your Poll Card, things might be a bit different because of measures imposed to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 at the polling stations. We’ll give you more details about what we are doing to make things more COVID-secure and how you can help as well.
Where is my Polling Station
If you are registered to vote but can’t remember where you polling station is, you can check online using www.wheredoivote.co.uk.
Voting by post
If you are registered to vote by post, you will have received your postal voting pack by now. As per voting at the polling station, you have until 10pm to get your postal vote back to us. If you are yet to return your postal vote, you should consider sending it in the coming days to ensure it is returned in time. Alternatively, you can return your postal vote to any polling station across South Somerset.
Here is some advice on ensuring you complete your postal vote correctly:
- Put your date of birth where indicated, not the date you sign the Postal Voting Statement. Your postal vote will be rejected otherwise.
- Sign the Postal Voting Statement where indicated. If the signature does not match the one SSDC holds, the postal vote will be rejected.
- Couples must ensure they do not mix up their paperwork. We receive a number of Postal Vote Statements each election where partners have signed the other person’s Statement and vice versa. Both postal votes will be rejected if this happens.
- Make sure you put your correct date of birth – don’t guess! It is surprising how many Postal Voting Statements we receive back where the date of birth is different to the date of birth the elector has supplied when applying for a postal vote. If the dates do not match, your postal vote will be rejected.
- Please take the time to read the instructions carefully to ensure your vote counts.
How the election is being made COVID-safe
We are doing everything we can to keep voters safe at polling stations. We’ve been preparing for these elections for months and COVID-19 has been something new to the team who organise and manage elections to deal with, but it’s something we are taking very seriously.
There are seven main things we are putting in place for the 6th May elections, but we’ve also been discussing work behind the scenes and implementing more measures as a result.
How you can help minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19
Follow our advice on the seven main things SSDC are putting in place for the 6th May elections and remember the principals of Hands, Face and Space.
We would advise trying to minimise contact with as many touch points as you possibly can. This includes items such as pencils so we advise you bring your own pen or pencil to cast your vote with.
Make sure you use hand sanitiser before entering and exiting the polling station.
Please make sure you are wearing your face covering, you are maintaining social distancing and using the correct one-way system if they are in place at polling stations.
Remember, your vote is yours alone. Your vote doesn’t belong to anyone who intimidates you, pretends to be you, tries to bribe you, or enter the polling booth with you. It’s yours, and yours alone. If someone tries to take your vote, or the vote of anyone you know, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
The same applies for postal votes. If anyone tries to change your vote, intimidate or bribe you, report this via the contact details above.
Casting your vote in confidence
Please cast your vote with confidence. If you are a first time voter, not sure how to cast your vote or whether you need assistance with casting your vote, our polling station staff are there to help you. Here are some simple things in place to help you cast your vote with confidence:
- Each polling station will have a ramp or a separate entrance, to make sure it’s accessible
- Each polling station will have a wheelchair accessible polling booth
- You can ask to see a large print ballot paper or for a visual aid at the polling station, if you need help to see the ballot paper
- You can ask for a tactile voting device at the polling station, if you need help to cast your vote
- You can take your assistance dog into the polling station with you
- The Presiding Officer at the polling station can help you to cast your vote if you need them to
- Your carer or support worker can help you to cast your vote if you need them to
- Ask at the polling station if you need help to cast your vote