Published: Fri 30th April, 2021
Leicestershire’s director of public health has reassured voters that polling stations are safe places to visit, despite the pandemic.
Mike Sandys has joined with Bev Smith, Police Area Returning Officer for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, to feature in a short video showing people exactly what to expect when they go out to cast their vote.
Voters are being reminded they must take a face covering and their own pen or pencil to polling stations, which will have similar safety measures to those seen in shops and supermarkets.
Leicestershire has seen a big rise in those opting for a postal vote this year, with over 96,000 people choosing to vote from home – but for most it will be the traditional trip down to their local polling station.
Across the county, pubs, churches, libraries, a fire station and even a carpet shop are to be used as polling stations on election day, May 6.
In previous years, many schools have been used as voting venues, but this year, returning officers across the country have been urged to find alternative locations where possible in a bid to minimise disruption for pupils who have already missed much time off school due to Covid 19.
Mike Sandys said: “We want to ensure that everyone who is entitled to vote can do so on May 6 despite the pandemic and we’d like to reassure everyone that polling stations are safe places to visit.
“All polling stations will have similar safety measures in place to those that we are used to in shops – hand sanitiser at exits and entrances, social distance markings and where possible a one-way system. All you need to do is to take along a face covering and your own pen or pencil.”
Bev Smith added: “Polling stations will be Covid-secure - voting booths will be cleaned regularly and although staff may be behind screens, they will still be available to help if necessary, including providing clean pencils for those who need them.”
Leicestershire County Council provides a wide range of services including adult social care, children's social care, public health, transport, education, planning, road maintenance, libraries, waste management and trading standards. This year Leicestershire residents will be voting in elections for both the county council and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner. In some areas, electors will also vote in by-elections and local referenda.
Rob Mitchell, Deputy Returning Officer, said: “Staff at Charnwood Borough Council have been working hard to ensure all polling stations across the borough and the Count venue are Covid secure.
“The health and wellbeing of voters and staff is of paramount importance, including the many people who we call upon from across the community to support the elections as polling clerks and count staff. I would like to thank everyone involved.”
Charnwood Borough Council election preparation in numbers:
- 250 polling staff
- 85 count staff
- 20 Postal vote staff
- 77 polling stations – find out where yours is by visiting wheredoivote.org.uk
- 21,500 postal votes issued
- 400 face visors
- 150 tubs of anti-bacterial wipes
- 25,000 pencils for voters (you can bring your own)
- 200 pairs of disposable gloves
- 77 large bottles of anti-bacterial spray
- 5,000 disposable cloths
- 85 Floor markings/stencils
- 10,000 paper towels
- 100 rolls of hazard tape
- 100 tape measures
If you find yourself having to self-isolate on election day, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote, asking for someone you trust to cast your vote for you. These applications can be made up to 5pm on May 6.
To find out more, go to www.leicestershire.gov.uk/election2021
Video: Leicestershire’s director of public health takes a walk through a Covid-secure polling station. https://youtu.be/ono1jYf7v4Y