How to vote safely at polling stations on May 6

Polling stations are open until 10pm tonight for this year's local elections.

Herts County Council has offered advice on how to vote safely at polling stations - Credit: Archant

With elections set to look very different this year due to COVID-19, Herts County Council has issued advice on how to vote safely at polling stations.

Polling stations will be safe places to vote, with a spacing requirement for social distancing, as well as ventilation, cleaning and infection control measures.

Jim McManus, director of Public Health for Hertfordshire, said: "The guidance had to take into account scenarios where we were at a higher rate of infection than we are now, so it stands us in good stead.

Jim McManus, director of public health for Hertfordshire, agreed with the council's decision to clos

Jim McManus, director of public health for Hertfordshire - Credit: Herts county council

"Things are going so well in the right direction that it will be perfectly safe for people to turn up to vote."

If you vote in person, rather than by proxy or postal vote, the county council has offered advice on keeping yourself and others safe.

Voters are asked to wear a face covering while inside the polling station, and advised to bring their own black ink pen or pencil. You are also advised to clean your hands when entering or leaving a polling station, and to keep a safe distance from others indoors.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms or who has been asked to self-isolate should not vote in person.

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If you have to self-isolate but have not arranged for a postal or a proxy vote then electoral registration teams can arrange an emergency proxy vote. Details are on the websites for individual councils.

Ballot papers are being quarantined in most district and borough councils for the safety of counting staff, with results counted over the weekend rather than on election night.