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How will elections be Covid-19 safe?

The May local elections will still go ahead in Peterborough this year, but how will they stay Covid-19 safe?
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How will elections be Covid-19 safe?

Peterborough City Council has confirmed that Covid-secure elections will go ahead on Thursday, May 6. 

Residents will have their say on the 23 seats on the council which are up for election this year.

All of the city’s usual polling stations are currently being reviewed to make sure every venue used can accommodate voting in a socially distanced and Covid-safe manner.

Where venues are not suitable to ensure good social distancing and ventilation, alternatives will be found, and these will be publicised well in advance.

People who are keen to vote in person on Thursday May 6 will be asked to:

  • Wear a face covering
  • Bring their pen or pencil
  • Use hand sanitiser, which will be available in each station, as they enter and leave
  • Keep a two-metre distance away from others when entering or leaving the polling station.

At each polling venue screens for polling clerks and distance markings for voters will be set up. Frequent touch points – like door handles and voting booth tables – will be cleaned after each voter has cast their vote.

For people who would prefer to vote by post, PCC are urging them to apply now as a higher than usual number of applications for postal votes are expected.

If you are unable to get to the polling station, or do not wish to attend in person, you can also apply for a proxy vote which means that you can appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf.

In order to vote by proxy, you will need to fill in an application form which clearly shows your signature and date of birth, the deadline is April 27 at 5pm.

Gillian Beasley, returning officer for Peterborough City Council, said: "By May, we will still be living with some level of restrictions due to the pandemic. We are working hard to make sure our polling stations are Covid-safe for the elections, but we understand that some people may prefer to stay at home so I’d like to encourage residents to apply for their postal or proxy vote if they would prefer.

"We are expecting a higher than usual number of applications for postal or proxy votes, so please don’t leave it to the last minute to apply. You can register now, and if you do change your mind closer to the elections then it’s easy to rescind your application.

"I do want to reassure residents who would like to visit their local polling station to cast their vote that it will be safe to do so. We've worked hard with employers and local businesses to make workplaces and essential shops Covid-safe and we’ll be applying the same measures with rigour to make polling stations a safe place to vote. More information will be available close to the elections around the steps we have taken to keep residents safe on polling day."

As well as the Peterborough City Council elections, you can use your postal or proxy vote to take part in the elections for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which are also held on Thursday 6 May.

To find out more about this year’s elections, go to click here.