Voting and Covid Restrictions – Person, Post and Proxy
This might be your first time voting so perhaps you’re not sure how things work. Maybe you’ve voted before but are wondering if things will be different because of Covid. Here’s our guide to voting in the Senedd Elections on 6th May 2021 and what rules you’ll need to follow.
I ddarllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg, clicia yma
There are three ways that you can vote.
1. Voting in person at the polling station
If you’ve registered to vote you’ll be sent a polling card in the post. You can’t just go to just any polling station, you must go to the one marked on your polling card. Take your card with you, and hand it over to the people at the desk. You will be handed a ballot paper (or papers – if you’re 18+ you’ll also vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner election). Take the ballot paper over to one of the private booths and mark your choices with a cross.
Covid restrictions will be in place at your polling stations dependent on the alert level in place at the time. It’s likely they will be restricting the amount of people allowed in the polling station at one time. You’ll have to wear a mask, keep 2 meters distance and follow a one way system. There may also be clear safety screens for protection.*
Rather than use the pencils usually provided to mark your ballet paper, you’re encouraged to take your own pen or pencil to the polling station. Don’t worry if you forget, there will be pencils there if you need, and these will be sanitised.
Covid measures should make everyone feel safe at the polling station, but if you don’t feel comfortable with it there are other options.
2. Voting by post
Postal votes is an option that voters have in every election. This could be because you can’t get out of the house easily, or that you can’t get to your polling station on the day because you’re away on holiday, at Uni etc. But anyone can apply for a postal vote. If you don’t feel comfortable attending a polling station then a postal vote is a good option for you.
But you have to apply for a postal vote (this is a different step to registering for a vote – which needs to be completed by 19 April). This year your application needs to reach them by 5pm on 20th April. Application forms are available here.
3. Voting by Proxy
If you’ve been shielding then you might not feel comfortable going to vote yourself, or you might not be able to get to your polling station for another reason. You can choose someone you trust to vote on your behalf, called a proxy vote. You have to apply for a proxy vote by 27 April. You’ll need to tell them why you can’t get to your polling station yourself.
There will also be a special emergency proxy vote this year, so if you have to self-isolate because of Covid, then you can apply up until 5pm on voting day. You can also change your nominated proxy if they have to self-isolate.
* There may be further changes to arrangements on Election Day because of Covid. We’ll keep this article updated but all the latest information is available on the Electoral Commission website.