Your guide to the local elections 2021

In News by Bembridge PC

On Thursday 6 May 2021, voters will go to the polls to decide who represents them on the Isle of Wight Council, their town and parish council (where contested) and in the police and crime commissioner elections.

It is important you have your say as you will decide who represents you when decisions are made on your local services.

Poll cards for the local elections will be popping through your letterbox from this week so make sure you look out for them. If you receive a poll card then you are registered to vote at this election.

Do I need to register to vote in the local elections 2021?

Only if you have not received a poll card, in which case you need to make sure you have registered before the voter registration deadline of Monday 19 April.

Registering can be done online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you have received a poll card you will be eligible to vote at the local elections and will be able to cast your vote. You do not need to re-register.

If your circumstances change, for example you move home between now and the registration deadline on 19 April, you will need to re-register at your new property.

If you need to check that you are on the Register of Electors then please call Isle of Wight Council on (01983) 823380 or email electoral.services@iow.gov.uk. You will need to quote your full name and address.

What if I am unable to register online?

You can request a voter registration form be sent to you by contacting electoral services on (01983) 823380. You must make sure you return the form before the registration deadline of midnight on 19 April to: County Hall, High Street, Newport, PO30 1UD.

Who can vote in the local elections?

Registered, eligible, citizens in England, Wales and Scotland over 18 who are resident in the UK, and whose name appears on the Register of Electors.

How do I vote?

The elections will take place at a time when COVID-19 continues to present risks to public health. We are working hard to ensure polling stations will be safe places to vote, but you can choose to apply to vote by post or by proxy instead.

  • In person

Your poll card will tell you when voting takes place and where you should go to vote on Thursday 6 May.

You can expect to see many of the measures we’ve all become used to over recent months in banks, shops and other indoor spaces, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and having to wear face coverings. Single use pencils will be available at each station for those who do not bring their own.

On poll day, when you go to your polling station, you will be given a piece of paper with the names of the different candidates for your local ward area on it.

You then go to a booth and put a X in the box which reflects your choice(s) and put the paper into a ballot box.

  • By post

If you are already registered as a postal voter then you will receive your vote through the post.

If you cannot or do not wish to attend your local polling station, you can still vote by post by filling out the application form available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote

You will need to apply by 5pm on Tuesday 20 April to vote by post in the local elections.

If you would like to cancel your postal vote and vote in person instead, please email the council’s electoral services at electoral.services@iow.gov.uk, stating that you wish to cancel your postal vote and giving your full name and address.

You can also cancel your postal vote by writing, giving your full name and address, to: Electoral Services, Isle of Wight Council, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD.

We must receive your cancellation in writing or via email by 5pm on Tuesday 20 April.

  • By proxy

If you are unable to vote in person or by post, you can choose to have someone you trust cast your vote for you. The person you choose can only act as proxy if they are 18 and are registered individually themselves.

A person cannot vote as a proxy for more than two people at any one election or referendum, unless they are a close relative.

In England, Scotland or Wales, you will need to download and complete a form to apply to vote by proxy. There are different forms depending on the reason that you need a proxy vote, at:  https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/proxy-voting-application-forms

If you want to vote by proxy in the local elections, you will need to apply by 5pm on Tuesday 27 April.

  • By emergency proxy

If, after 5pm on Tuesday 27 April, you find you are unable to attend your polling station in person due to a medical emergency – such as self-isolating due to coronavirus – or due to your occupation, service or employment and you only become aware of that fact AFTER 5pm Tuesday 27 April; then you may be able to appoint an emergency proxy to vote on your behalf.

Please contact the electoral services team by email on electoral.services@iow.gov.uk; in writing to: Electoral Services, Isle of Wight Council, High Street, Newport,Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD or call (01983) 823380.

Emergency proxy votes can be issued up to 5pm on Thursday 6 May.

What is the poll card for?

The card tells you when voting takes place and where you should go to vote on 6 May 2021.

We began issuing the poll cards from 23 March and they should arrive on doorsteps by 30 March. If you do not receive a poll card after 30 March, it may be that you are not registered to vote – please check this with the electoral services team by calling (01983) 823380.

What happens if I lose my poll card?

If you lose your poll card, don’t worry – you don’t need to bring it with you to vote. Simply go to your local polling station. If you don’t know where that is, check with the electoral services team on (01983) 823380.

Where can I vote?

The poll card will tell you which local polling station you will vote at, so please check your card when it arrives.

Key dates to remember:

Last date for voter registration — Monday 19 April.

Last date for receipt of postal applications — 5pm, Tuesday 20 April.

Last date for receipt of proxy vote applications — 5pm, Tuesday 27 April.

Last date for receipt of emergency proxy applications – 5pm, Thursday 6 May

Local election voting day – 7am to 10pm, Thursday 6 May.