Making polling stations COVID-19 safe

Changes to how polling stations work for May 2021 elections

The Police and Crime Commissioner Elections will take place on 6 May 2021. Residents in some areas will also have a vote in parish and district ward by-elections to fill vacant seats on their parish council and the district council.

For these elections to take place in our polling stations we are making changes to ensure voters can vote as safely as possible. If you are at all concerned and do not want to go to a polling station you can apply for a postal vote up to 5pm on Tuesday 20 April, 2021. You can apply for a postal vote at any time.

Find out how to apply for a postal vote.

If you feel you are unable to complete a postal vote and would prefer someone voted on your behalf you can apply for a proxy vote up to 5pm on Tuesday 27 April, 2021. The person you appoint must be able to attend your polling station.

Find out about applying for a proxy vote.

If you are not registered to vote you will need to register online before you can apply for either a postal or proxy vote.

Read register to vote to find out the information you will need before you apply.

What we are doing to ensure you can vote safely?

Our polling staff:

  • Are wearing a facemask.
  • Are behind screens.
  • Wiping down surfaces in the polling booths and on the ballot boxes between voters.
  • Limiting the number of voters who can enter a polling station at one time.
  • Where possible ensuring that a one way system is in place and clearly marked.
  • Asking voters to bring their own pen.
  • Providing hand sanitiser for voters.

Social distancing requirements mean polling stations will operate differently

It may take longer to vote.

  • Polling station staff will not take poll cards from electors.
  • You may need to wait in a queue at busy times.
  • Small stations will be operating one in, one out and you may have to wait until you are asked to go in.

What will I need to do to vote safely?

  • Must wear a facemask unless you're exempt.
  • Use the hand sanitiser before you enter the polling station.
  • Bring your own pen or pencil to mark your ballot paper.
  • Use any one way system in place.
  • Make sure you keep to social distancing measures in and around the polling station.


If you are self-isolating or shielding for health reasons follow government advice and contact the elections office to find out what options are available to you to vote.

Find our about applying for a postal voting before the 5pm deadline on the 20 April, 2021 .

Find out about applying for a proxy voting before the 5pm deadline on the 27 April 2021.

In certain circumstances you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote. You can apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on the day of the election on Thursday 6 May, 2021.

Read about proxy voting in the local elections on GOV.UK.

If you are showing signs of Covid infection on the 6 May 2021

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • A¬†high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You should get a test as soon as possible. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test results. You must not attend the polling station.

Apply for an emergency proxy vote

There are government measures in place so anyone who needs to self-isolate with Coronavirus will still be able to vote with an emergency proxy vote. Anyone who is registered to vote can request an emergency proxy up to 5pm on 6 May 2021.

Read about proxy voting in the local elections on GOV.UK.