polling station

Voters go to the polls on 6 May. Photograph: Martin Deutsch

Islington Council is gearing up to make this week’s elections safe. The Thursday 6 May polls for the London Mayor and London Assembly, which were held over from their scheduled date last year, will be the first since the start of the pandemic. There are also by-elections taking place in five wards: Bunhill, Highbury West, Holloway, Mildmay and St Peter’s.

Polling stations will be open between 7.00am and 10.00pm. If you know where your polling station is, you do not need to bring your polling card or any other identification with you to vote.

All British, Commonwealth and European Citizens who are currently on the Electoral Register can vote in these elections.

Voters are asked to wear face coverings if they go to vote in person. In addition, they are also encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil if they can. Precautions at polling stations will include hand sanitiser, protective screens and social distancing measures. Polling staff will be given facemasks and/or shields to wear as protection.

Although not required for voting, your polling card can be useful to bring along as it will include details of where your polling station is, and this could have changed since the last election. Having your polling card with you can also make it easier for polling staff to find your name on the electoral roll.

Voters should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of Covid-19, nor if they have been asked to self-isolate. Anyone who develops Covid symptoms or is asked to self-isolate shortly before polling day has until 5.00pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote. This allows them to nominate someone they trust to vote on their behalf.

Cabinet Office guidance maintains that: “Everyone who feels comfortable going to a supermarket or a post office should also feel confident attending a polling station,” noting also that “Successful elections have been held around the world while the pandemic has been happening – in Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Israel, South Korea and the United States”.

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “At the polling station, help keep yourself and others safe by following the safety measures, including sanitising your hands and keeping a safe distance from others.

For further information on how to apply for an emergency proxy vote, Islington voters should contact Islington Council’s electoral registration team by calling 020 7527 3110, emailing electoral.services@islington.gov.uk or visiting them at Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD.

More information on the elections can be found at electoralcommission.org.uk/voter, which will continue to be updated ahead of the polls.