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Use your vote but bring your own pen: UK local elections made Covid safe | Local government

Voters in Could’s native elections shall be suggested to carry their very own pen or pencil as a measure designed to cease polling day from spreading Covid-19.

The transfer is without doubt one of the sensible steps being deliberate to make sure that an enormous set of elections this spring can go forward safely. Whereas present guidelines enable the general public to carry writing implements to the polling station, the appropriate shall be publicised to scale back the dangers of passing on the virus.

It comes as election directors warned it’s already too late to modify to an all-postal vote system ought to coronavirus nonetheless be a significant concern on election day. Some councils are already struggling to verify the usage of common election venues, and different buildings don’t lend themselves to social distancing measures.

As a result of last year’s postponements, this yr will see elections for native councils, 13 instantly elected mayors and 40 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales. Elections can even be held for London mayor and meeting, in addition to the Welsh and Scottish parliaments.

There have been issues in some councils that they are going to wrestle to run the elections as they’re already swamped with Covid-19 calls for. And though elections are set to go forward as deliberate, Boris Johnson has mentioned he’s maintaining the date beneath assessment.

Measures reminiscent of switching to postal votes or extending the time by which ballots could be forged are considered logistically unimaginable in England.Nevertheless, election officers are easy measures to scale back transmission, together with a publicity marketing campaign asking that voters carry their very own implement to make their mark.

“Voters can carry their very own pen or pencil to vote,” mentioned Craig Westwood, the Electoral Fee’s director of communications, coverage and analysis. “Whereas you are able to do that in any election, it’s one other measure to assist preserve secure. Voters shall be listening to these messages from us, and others, within the weeks main as much as the polls.

“We’re focusing much more on the voting choices that folks can have, together with postal and proxy voting, and ensuring that polling stations are secure locations to vote. We’re snug that native authorities could make them secure, with help from voters in following the recommendation they’re given. This can all be just like what we’re already experiencing in our each day lives, when it comes to social distancing, hand sanitiser and masks.”

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