Make sure you’re ready to have your say on 5 May

A guide to polling day - make sure you’re ready to have your say on 5 May

With only a few days left until Reigate & Banstead voters go to the polls on 5 May, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is urging voters to get ready to vote in the local elections. Those voting in person will be sent a poll card in run up to the polling day which will tell them where they should go to cast their vote. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 5 May. Staff will be on hand at polling stations to assist voters with any questions about filling out their ballot paper.

There will be some public health measures in place at polling stations to make sure polling stations are safe places to vote, such as screens, hand sanitiser and regular cleaning. To help keep themselves and others safe, we ask voters to:

  • wear a face covering inside the polling station
  • use the hand sanitiser provided when entering and leaving the polling station
  • keeping a safe distance from others
  • bring your own pen or pencil to mark your ballot paper, if possible.

Voters who have opted to vote by post must return their postal ballot pack by 10pm; they can hand it in at their polling station if they don’t have time to return it by post.

Mari Roberts-Wood, Electoral Registration Officer for Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, said: “Make sure you check the information on your poll card in before going to vote, as your polling station might have changed since the last election. You do not need your poll card to vote, but we encourage you to bring it with you to make the process quicker and more efficient. Please also follow our safety measures to keep voters and our staff safe.”

If you are self-isolating or become unwell as a result of Covid-19, you don’t need to lose your vote. Voters have up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy so that someone you trust can vote on their behalf by calling our elections line on 01737 276794 or email elreg@reigate-banstead.gov.uk to request an application form.

A guide to polling day

Here is a useful guide to what voters can expect on 5 May, answering some of the most common questions we get asked.

How to find your polling station

Your polling station will be listed on your poll card. You can also find your polling station by entering your postcode into the ‘Where I Live’ search on our website.

You need to go to your designated polling station; you can’t go to a different one, for example, near where you work.

Safety measures at the polling station

Perspex screens and regular cleaning will be in place. To help keep yourself and others safe, we ask voters to:

  • wear a face covering inside the polling station
  • use the hand sanitiser provided when entering and leaving the polling station
  • keeping a safe distance from others
  • bring your own pen or pencil to mark your ballot paper, if possible.

Polling station staff will have spare face coverings and clean pencils available for people who forget theirs. Some polling stations will have a maximum capacity, so you may have to queue to enter. If you are in the queue waiting to vote at 10pm, you will still be able to vote before the polls close.

How to complete your ballot paper

Take your time: read the ballot papers carefully and complete them in line with the instructions. Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted. If you make a mistake, as long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper. 

Once you're done, fold your completed ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box on the desk beside the poll clerks.

If you need help

Our polling stations have ramps, wheelchair accessible polling booths and visual aids. Polling station staff will be on hand to help anyone who needs it, and carers or support workers can also help. Assistance dogs are welcome too.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper to refer to when you cast your vote, or a special tactile voting device that is designed so you can mark your ballot paper on your own.

Tellers

Tellers might be outside the polling station and ask you for the number on your poll card. They are volunteering on behalf of candidates or parties and use the information to check who has voted, and to remind people who haven't yet voted, to do so. They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don't have to give it to them if you don’t want to. If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.

Photos or selfies

You shouldn’t take photos inside the polling station as it might put the secrecy of the ballot at risk. You are welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote.

Coming with family, friends, children or your dog?

You can go to the polling station with whomever you like, but only those registered to vote at that station will be able to go inside. Children are welcome. While your child must not mark the ballot paper for you, you can take them into the polling booth with you.

You must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you have a disability, in which case you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station staff for their help.

Animals, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside, so will need to be secured outside if you do decide to take them with you. We love a #petsatpollingstations photo, so if you take one, do tag us on social media @reigatebanstead and we’ll share the best ones.

Should I tell anyone who I voted for?

Your vote is yours and yours alone: you do not need to tell anyone how you voted.

Exit polls are sometimes conducted - usually by private companies working for newspapers or broadcasters - to ask voters who they voted for to help them predict what the outcome might be. You do not need to answer their questions if you don’t want to.

Political discussion is not allowed inside and immediately around the polling station so that there’s no risk of influencing other voters. If you want to debate your vote with friends or family, do it away from the polling station.

Postal votes

Voters who have opted to vote by post need to make sure their postal ballot pack is returned by 10pm on 5 May. If you haven’t got around to posting it in time, you can hand it in at your polling station or hand deliver it to the Town Hall, Reigate, up until 10pm on polling day. You can find your polling station by entering your postcode into the ‘Where I Live’ search on our website.

If you need help completing your postal vote, watch our ‘how to’ video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MvjLpXQ-uw&feature=youtu.be

Proxy voters

If you’re voting on behalf of someone else as their proxy, remember that you need to go to their polling station to do so, rather than yours.

How you can vote if you develop Covid symptoms

If you become unwell or are self-isolating as a result of Covid-19 shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don’t need to miss out on your vote. You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone you can trust can vote on your behalf. You can arrange it by calling our elections line on 01737 276794 or email elreg@reigate-banstead.gov.uk to request an application form.

Candidates standing for election

To find out who is standing for election in your area, see the Statement of Persons Nominated for each ward on our coming elections page www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/boroughelections.

 


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