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How will you vote in May’s local elections?

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Worcester residents are being encouraged to think about how they want to vote in the local elections in May.

Three elections will take place in the city on Thursday May 6, with voters asked to choose their County Councillor, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia and – in some areas of the city – their City Councillor.

Polling stations will be open 7am-10pm on the day, with a range of measures in place to ensure they are Covid-secure, but residents also have the option of choosing to vote by post or by appointing a proxy to vote for them.

Detailed plans are being prepared to ensure the city's polling stations will be safe to use. Measures will include separate entrances and exits where possible, one-way systems, staff wearing masks, hand sanitiser at entrances and exits, and more. Voters will be encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil to complete the ballot papers.

Voters can also cast their votes in advance by post. Anyone who registers for a postal vote before the deadline of 5pm on April 20 will be sent their ballot papers in advance and asked to return them by polling day.

If you are thinking about voting by post, you can apply now. This will make sure your application is processed early, and that your postal vote is sent to you sooner.

It is also possible to appoint someone else to vote on your behalf at your polling station on May 6. This is known as a proxy vote, and the deadline to apply for one is 5pm on April 27.

See full details of how to apply for either a postal or proxy vote.

Shane Flynn, Returning Officer for Worcester, said: "This year's elections are very important – they're 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 Worcester.

"We're taking steps to ensure that, however you choose to cast your vote in May, you can do so safely. We're putting arrangements in place to help you stay safe at the polling station; you can expect many of the measures you've become used to in shops and banks over recent months, including hand sanitiser, floor markings and face masks. But you also have the option to apply to vote by post or by proxy, instead of going to a polling station to cast your vote."

Anyone who has not yet registered to vote can do so at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote - it takes less than five minutes. To vote in the polls on May 6, you must have registered to vote by 11:59pm on April 19.

The City Council election on May 6 will be for city councillors in 12 of the city's 15 wards. These polls were postponed last year because of the pandemic. The 12 wards are: Arboretum; Battenhall; Bedwardine; Cathedral; Claines; Gorse Hill; Nunnery; Rainbow Hill; St Clement; St John; St Stephen; and Warndon.

Also postponed from last year was the election for the Police & Crime Commissioner. The County Council election was always planned to be held in 2021.
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