Polling cards will be arriving through Orkney letterboxes next week from around Thursday 18 March for all those eligible to vote at the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election on 6 May – and you will see that two of our regular Polling Stations have moved.
Voters in Kirkwall will be invited to attend at the Pickaquoy Centre and not the St Magnus Centre to accommodate social distancing requirements due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
The South Ronaldsay and Burray Polling Station is also on the move – to the Cromarty Hall and not the ‘Hope School.
Don’t worry though as your poll card details where your polling station is and also how you can make arrangements for a postal vote. Anyone can apply for a postal vote, whatever their reason, so long as they contact the Electoral Registration Office before 17:00 on 6 April.
Postal vote packs will be sent out the week commencing 19 April. Voters who have trouble keeping their signatures consistent can apply for a “waiver” whereby they won’t need to sign their postal voting statement and therefore can still cast their vote on the ballot papers contained in the pack.
If you don’t receive your polling card, you should check that you are actually on the Electoral Register by contacting the local Electoral Registration Office on 01856876222.
Polling Stations will be open from 07:00 – 22:00 and all safety precautions and guidance measures will be adhered to. This includes physical distancing, limitations on the numbers inside where necessary and one-way systems where possible, face coverings, hand sanitizer will be available on entry and exit, staff will be behind protective screens, and venues will be cleaned thoroughly throughout the day. Voters are welcome to take their own pen or pencil, however there will be a fresh, clean one available for each person.
John Mundell, OIC Returning Officer, said: “We are having to do some things differently this year due to the ongoing restrictions and ensuring we are adhering to all the necessary precautions and Covid-19 safety measures. This has necessitated a move for two of our Polling Stations.
“I would encourage people to apply now if they feel a postal vote would be the best option for them. We are endeavouring to provide a convenient and safe way for anyone to place their vote whether it be postal, proxy (someone who votes on your behalf) or indeed by coming along to your nearest Polling Station. The Council aims to provide as much assistance as possible to the people of Orkney to enable everyone to cast their vote.
“If you don’t receive your polling card or have any queries about how to vote, then please contact the Electoral Registration Office.”
If you’re registered to vote, you can download an application form for a postal vote at http://www.orkney-shetland-vjb.co.uk
Once completed, the form can be posted to the Electoral Registration Office, 8 Broad Street, Kirkwall KW15 1NX,or a scanned copy can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, phone our local Electoral Registration Office on 01856876222 or email email@example.com to request an application form.
Anyone resident in Scotland, who will be aged 16 or over, on 6 May can register to vote. The deadline for registering is midnight on 19 April – and you can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
The count this time will not be overnight but instead will take place the following morning on Friday 7 May.
For further information on the election please visit our dedicated elections web page here – https://www.orkney.gov.uk/Council/C/elections.htm
Application deadlines for the Scottish Parliament Election 2021:
- New postal vote applications including proxies applying to vote by post - 17:00 on Tuesday 6 April 2021.
- Register to vote - Monday 19 April 2021 (Midnight).
- New proxy vote applications - 17:00 on Tuesday 27 April 2021.
- To vote by proxy, after 17:00 on Tuesday 27 April 2021, on the grounds of a medical emergency or where you learn you cannot go to the polling station because of work service reasons - 17:00 on Thursday 6 May 2021.