What are the Covid rules for polling stations in local elections 2021?

DEMOCRACY should not be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has said.

Local elections will go ahead on May 6, 2021, after being postponed last year. Here's everything you need to know about Covid-19 rules at polling stations.

What are the Covid rules for polling stations?

Voters and staff at polling stations are expected to follow the same rules that the general public has been following when visiting indoor spaces.

They include wearing a face covering unless exempt and maintain social distancing.

If there are physical barriers between poll workers and voters, then staff behind the screen will not be required to wear a face covering, according to the Government's official guidance.

Hand sanitiser will be available at polling stations and distance markings and protective barriers will be used where needed.

Is in-person voting safe?

The Government has introduced measures to make in-person voting safe.

Voters are also encouraged to avoid peak times – between 7.30am and 9.30am and between 5pm and 8pm – when there may be queues, if possible.

People are going to be away from home or unable to make it to a polling station because of work can apply for a proxy vote – the deadline to apply is 5pm on Tuesday, April 27.

Postal voting is also an option, but people must register in advance to get their polling card ahead of the election.

Will I have to bring my own pen or pencil?

Voters will be encouraged to bring their own pens or pencils to mark their ballot papers if possible.

However, those who cannot do so will have access to regularly sanitised or single use pencils.

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