Local elections in England and Wales are set to go ahead in May, despite the ongoing pandemic.
The Government has decided to allow the election processes to continue with high standards of safety, including compulsory masks at the polling booths, divider screens and hand sanitiser being handed out to the public. People will also be required to carry their own pencils to the voting booths to avoid the need for contact with surfaces, according to an article from the BBC.
An all-postal ballot has been ruled out, despite some reluctance by Labour and certain councils to allow the democratic process to continue in person, as is traditional. Police and Crime Commissioner Elections will also go ahead on May 6 in both England and Wales. Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd elections are also scheduled to take place, with the responsibility of running them placed with the devolved Governments.
An extra £15m will be given to English councils to hold their elections, with an estimated additional £16m for PCC elections in England and Wales. Councils have also been asked not to use schools as polling stations to minimise any further disruption to education, which would have been customary in normal times. Besides the polls due this year, people will also cast votes in polls postponed from last May in light of the first wave of the pandemic.