Voters in Gedling borough can still have their say in May with Covid-safe local elections set to get go ahead

 Voters in Gedling borough can still have their say in May with Covid-safe local elections set to get go ahead

Plans are being drawn up designed to make local elections safer in Gedling borough this May.

Last year, local elections were put on hold until 2021, meaning more will be held this year than had initially been planned. 

It had been mooted that elections this year be delayed again, to decrease likelihood of people becoming infected, with numerous people entering the same buildings to vote. 

But the Government has said it plans to hold the votes as planned, and councils have said they are stepping up preparations to make them ‘covid-secure’.

If the plans do go ahead, there will be the four-yearly elections to Nottinghamshire County Council – which were always due to be held this year.

Police and crime commissioner elections, due to be held last year, will also be rolled over to this year.

Nottinghamshire County Council is currently run by a Conservative-led coalition, with Labour as the second-largest party.

The police and crime commissioner is currently Labour’s Paddy Tipping, with the Conservatives coming in second place last time round.

Both elections are due to be held on Thursday, May 6.

Elections to Nottingham City Council and district and borough councils are not due to be held until 2023.

Government minister Chloe Smith said it was important for elections to go ahead, and the preparations were well under way. 

Speaking to the House of Commons, she said: “Safe and secure elections are the cornerstone of any democracy, and Parliament’s decision … is that these polls should go ahead in May.

“Due to the pandemic, many of these elections have already been delayed by a year, but voters have a right to be heard and to decide who governs them. 

“Given the situation, however, we are … keeping this position under review.

“Any change would require very careful consideration, including by this House, and would need to be based on robust evidence. There should be a high bar for any delay.

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“I remind the House that we have already seen polls go ahead despite coronavirus, in this country—for example, council elections in Edinburgh and Aberdeen—and internationally, with other countries holding general elections. Since the announcement of the postponement of the 2020 elections, we have been working towards holding them in a covid-secure manner, and we will put in place a strong set of measures to support this. 

“Voters have a choice as to how they participate in elections—at the polling station, by proxy or by post. 

“We want to maintain that choice, but we recognise that the pandemic may change people’s needs and preferences. We actively encourage anybody who is shielding or who would prefer not to attend a polling station to apply for an absent vote instead of going in person. 

“We will bring forward additional measures to support absent voting, including extending the ability to appoint a proxy, so that anybody who might be affected by covid-19 in the days before the poll is still able to make their voice heard.”

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire County Council said: “While the elections are some time away, we’re already making plans to help you stay safe while casting your votes in Gedling. 

“There are a number of ways to have your say in the elections – you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, which is known as a proxy vote.

“The elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life here in

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