'X' Marks the Spot - Know what to do on Election Day
With only days to go, voters in South Tyneside are encouraged to make sure they are ready to cast their votes on Election Day.
South Tyneside residents will go to the polls on Thursday 5 May to elect local government councillors to represent them on South Tyneside Council with seats across all 18 wards being contested.
People are urged to complete and return their postal ballots as soon as possible.
Those who do not have a postal vote can find out from their polling card where they need to go to cast their vote on polling day. It is important voters check the information as their polling station may have changed since the last elections. There are 80 polling stations across South Tyneside.
Jonathan Tew, South Tyneside Council's Returning Officer, said: "With the Local Government Elections fast approaching, we want to make sure that everyone who is registered to vote knows how to cast their vote on 5 May.
"Putting a cross in a box may seem simple, but there are a number of things that voters need to consider in order to be ready for the local election.
"Many people will have voted before and will be familiar with the process. However, there will be some first time voters particularly among our young people who may be unsure what to do. Every single vote counts, therefore we want everyone to feel comfortable and confident in exercising their right to vote.
"We would encourage people to consider the information and guidance available about the voting process beforehand, so they know what to do on the day."
Those voting in person may see some public health measures in place at polling stations, similar to those in place at other indoor venues. The Council will be following latest public health guidance to make sure polling stations are safe places to vote.
Voters who are isolating or become unwell due to Covid-19 don't need to lose their vote. They have 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.
What voters need to know before Election Day:-
- Stay safe:
- Hand sanitiser will be provided
- Consider wearing a face covering while in the polling station
- Follow the signs in place
- Respect other people's space
- Take your own pen or pencil, or use one of the clean ones available at the station.
- Vote in time:
- Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 5 May. (Voters had to have applied to register to vote by 14 April in order to be able to vote on the day.)
- Polling cards have been sent to the addresses of registered voters. The cards give details of the location of their polling station. Voters can only vote at the polling station specified on their own poll card.
- Plan when to cast your vote and leave plenty of time before the 10pm deadline. Those in the queue at 10pm will still be able to vote, however those who arrive at their polling station after 10pm will miss their chance to take part.
- Postal voting:
- Make sure postal votes are returned by 10pm on Thursday 5 May.
- Those who have not had time to post it before polling day can hand it in at any polling station in South Tyneside.
- Postal votes that arrive after 10pm on 5 May will not be counted.
- Proxy voting:
- If you have appointed a proxy, then they need to make sure they are able to vote at your polling station on your behalf.
- If you suddenly become unable to vote in person, due to a medical emergency or because your occupation, service or employment means you cannot go to the polling station, and you only become aware of that fact after the deadline, then you may be entitled to appoint an emergency proxy.
- You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day. Contact South Tyneside Council's Elections Team direct about this, on (0191) 424 7230.
- What to take:
- Consider wearing a facemask.
- A pen or pencil, although clean pencils will be available at the station.
- You can take the poll card with you to show polling station staff when you arrive. They will still ask for you to confirm your name and address. Staff will not take your card from you. Please take it home and dispose of it securely. If you don't have your poll card with you, just tell the polling station staff your name and your address and they can check whether you are on the electoral register.
- Social media:
- Social media is a great way to let your friends and family know you have voted and to encourage them to do the same. Use Twitter, Facebook and any other social media accounts to help get the message out there.
- Remember, pictures of you before you go into or after you leave the polling station are great to use on social media posts but don't take a picture of yourself inside the polling station as if you post this it could be a breach of the law.
- How to fill in the ballot paper:
- The staff at the polling station will give you a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for.
- Staff will be on hand at the polling station to provide advice on the voting process.
- Those who are disabled can ask the Presiding Officer for help and they can mark the ballot paper for you. You can also ask someone else to help you (e.g., a close relative or a friend or support worker, who is an eligible elector).
- Voters with a visual impairment can ask for a large print copy of the ballot papers, a special voting device that allows them to vote on their own in secret, or a magnifying glass, or they can use a magnifying app on their own mobile phone.
- Take your ballot paper into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote. Read the ballot paper carefully, it will tell you how to cast your vote.
- Mark the ballot paper according to the instructions. Do not write anything else on the paper or your vote may not be counted.
- If you make a mistake on a ballot paper, don't worry. So long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can issue you with a replacement ballot paper.
- Fold your completed ballot paper in half and pop them in the ballot box - and that's it done!
For more information about elections in South Tyneside including how to apply for a proxy vote, visit South Tyneside Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/elections or call South Tyneside Council's Elections Team on (0191) 424 7230.
Further details about the voting process is available at www.yourvotematters.co.uk