Having your say safely in May

In News by Bembridge PC

Isle of Wight residents will be preparing to go to the polls next week to have their say in the local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections on Thursday 6 May.

The council’s elections team are geared up and ready to make sure that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so in a COVID-secure way.

Polling stations will be open from 7am on the day and will close at 10pm and there will be a number of COVID safety measures in place, including social distancing, regular cleaning of poll booths, screens and hand sanitiser readily available. Please check your poll card to make sure you know where your polling station is.

For those who choose to vote in person, people are encouraged to keep themselves and others safe by:

  • wearing a face covering
  • bringing their own pen or pencil
  • cleaning their hands when entering and leaving the polling station using the sanitiser provided
  • keeping a safe distance
  • choosing to take a free rapid response COVID-19 test for people without symptoms before heading to the polling station

Rapid response (LFT) testing is available for everyone without COVID-19 symptoms. For more information on how to get tested please visit keeptheislandsafe.org/communitytesting

Voters should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Provisions are in place to apply for an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm on Election Day if required due to health circumstances.

Claire Shand, Elections officer for Isle of Wight Council, said: “In order to make sure those voting in person can safely have their say, we have put in place a number of safety measures at our poll stations – some of which people will have seen in place in other areas of life, such as encouraging hand sanitising, socially distance and mask wearing.

“We will have restrictions on the number of people in a polling station at one time which will mean there are may be socially distanced queues at times. However, we are confident that the actions we are taking will keep voters safe on the day and registered voters need not worry about voting in person.

“If you want extra piece of mind and help keep others safe too, you can also take up the free offer of a COVID-19 rapid response test either at home or at County Hall.”

If, after 5pm on Tuesday 27 April, you find you are unable to attend your polling station in person due to a medical emergency, or due to your occupation, service or employment and you only become aware of that fact AFTER 5pm Thursday 25 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 6 May 2021.

For more information on the local elections, please visit www.iow.gov.uk/Council/Elections/