Cabinet Office publishes May 2021 polls delivery plan

Cabinet Office publishes May 2021 polls delivery plan

The Cabinet Office has published a policy paper regarding the May 2021 polls delivery plan. The government postponed the scheduled local polls in May 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID–19) pandemic. Returning Officers, the government and their partners have made ‘extensive preparations to be able to hold these polls on 6 May 2021’, so the polls will run as usual but with additional measures set in place to ensure there is a minimal risk of spreading coronavirus. The Cabinet Office states that an estimated £92m of government grant funding will be supplied to local authorities for the elections, and £31m of that funding will directly address costs associated with ‘making the elections COVID-19 secure'.

What to expect in polling stations during coronavirus:

• social distancing both inside and outside venues

• limited amount of people inside the polling station

• masks worn by staff and voters

• voters are to bring their own pen or pencil

• maximum ventilation

• glass screens

• hand sanitiser

• regular cleaning

The government is covering the four significant areas involving public health and social distancing, nominations and campaigning, voting and the delivery of election, and commits to:

• voters will have the choice to vote in person and absent voting. Postal and proxy votes will be supported, and proxy voting rules are amended to ensure those affected by coronavirus in the days before the poll can still vote

• work collaboratively with partners to ensure everyone involved is protected to the maximum extent possible from the spread of disease. Clear guidance will be given for voting activities

• candidates and their agents will be given additional guidance on the specific application of social distancing and other regulations to their activities involving nominations and campaigning

• Returning Officers and local authorities will be supported with delivering the elections, including extra funding for the additional costs the necessary public health measures will generate

This Delivery Plan will apply to all polls in England as well as to Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales on 6 May 2021.

The Cabinet states that those ‘who feel comfortable going to a supermarket or a post office should also feel confident attending a polling station in May’ and encourages all those who are shielding, or who would prefer not to attend a polling station, to apply for a postal or proxy vote ahead of the polls.

Source: May 2021 polls delivery plan

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