ONE week today voters in Reading will go to the polls and the Council is reminding residents what to expect when they cast their votes next Thursday (May 6th).
Voting takes place for both the Local Borough Council Elections and for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections next week. The Council is reassuring people that polling stations will be safe places to vote on May 6th but arrangements will look a bit different this year due to on-going public health guidance.
Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. People voting in person are encouraged to keep themselves safe, and to keep others safe, by:
- wearing a face covering
- bringing their own pen or pencil
- cleaning their hands when entering and leaving the polling station
- keeping a safe distance
Residents should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of Covid-19 – a continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell – or if they have been asked to self-isolate. Anyone who develops symptoms, or is asked to self-isolate shortly before polling day, has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote. This allows them to nominate someone they trust to vote on their behalf (details below).
Christopher Brooks, Electoral Registration Officer for Reading Borough Council, said:
“The election team here at Reading have been working hard to ensure polling stations will be safe places to vote on May 6th and people arriving on the day can expect to see many of the measures they’ve become used to in shops or other indoor spaces, such as social distancing and hand sanitiser for example. We’ve produced a short video to give people an idea of how it will work on the day at: https://youtu.be/Rf4UHOqbEgM
“Your poll card will tell you where to find your polling station. Make sure you check the information on your polling card, as your polling station might have changed since the last elections. There are some changes in polling stations in Church, Caversham, Southcote, Kentwood, Redlands, Tilehurst and Whitley wards this year, so voters who live in those are particularly asked to check.
“You do not need your poll card to vote, but we would encourage you to bring it with you to make the process quicker and more efficient for everyone. It should only take a few minutes to vote. We have put arrangements in place to help maintain social distancing, so if you are asked to queue, please be patient and we will work to enable you to vote as quickly as possible. If you need any assistance on the day, just ask the staff at the polling station – they are there to help.”
There are eight changes to usual polling station in Reading this year. They are:
- Christ the King Electors have moved to South Reading Leisure Centre (Church Ward)
- Prospect School Electors have moved to Southcote Community Hub (Southcote Ward)
- The Ridgeway School Electors have moved to St Barnabas Church, Elm Road (Church Ward)
- Norcot Youth and Community Centre/Temporary Bus Electors have moved to St Mary Magdalen Church (Kentwood Ward)
- Redlands School Electors have moved to St Luke’s Church (Redlands) To note that St Luke’s Church Hall is also a Polling Station. Please check your Poll Card carefully to ensure that you are in the correct building
- Park Lane Primary School Electors have moved to Tilehurst British Legion (Tilehurst Ward)
- Geoffrey Field School Electors have moved to Christ The King Church (Whitley Ward)
- Caversham Primary School Electors have moved to Thameside Primary School (Caversham Ward)
More postal votes are expected this year due to the circumstances. If they haven’t already, people who have opted to vote by post must return their postal ballot pack by 10pm on Thursday May 6th. They can hand it in at any polling station in the borough if they run out of time to return it by post.
If residents are unwell or are self-isolating as a result of Covid-19 shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, they don’t need to miss out on voting. In these circumstances, people can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone they trust can vote on their behalf. To arrange it speak to the local Electoral Services team in Reading on: 0118 937 3717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the FAQ page on the Council’s website at https://www.reading.gov.uk/council/democracy/elections-and-voting/2021-local-borough-elections-and-police-and-crime-commissioner-elections/ to find out more about elections on 6 May 2021.