The race is on for local elections
Local elections have officially begun, with candidates of all parties hoping to secure Worcester residents' votes on Thursday May 6.
Formal notices have been published for the three elections taking place in the city – for city councillors, county councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner – marking the formal start of the contests.
Steps are being put in place to ensure polling stations are as safe as possible, but residents who would prefer not to vote in person have the opportunity to sign up now for either a postal vote or a proxy vote.
Shane Flynn, Returning Officer for Worcester, said: "Don't let the pandemic put you off from voting in this year's elections. This is your chance to make your voice heard and decide who represents you on big issues from roads to bin collections and policing.
"if you do not want to cast your ballot in-person at one of our polling stations, now is the time to be going to www.worcester.gov.uk/elections to apply for a postal vote or for someone else to vote on your behalf as a proxy."
Applications for a postal vote need to be made by 5pm on April 20. Ballot papers will then be sent out in advance and voters will need to return them by 10pm on polling day, May 6.
Applications for a proxy vote – when you appoint someone else to vote at a polling station in your place – need to be made by 5pm on April 27.
In both cases, applications can be made at www.worcester.gov.uk/elections.
Anyone who is not yet registered to vote should do so by April 19 at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
On election day, polling stations will be open 7am-10pm, with a range of measures in place to ensure they are as Covid-secure as possible, similar to those found in supermarkets. Voters attending a polling station will be asked to:
- Wear a face covering
- Use the hand sanitiser provided
- Follow a one-way system if one is in place
- Bring their own pen or pencil
- Follow social distancing guidelines.
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.
The election for the West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner was also postponed from last year. The County Council election was always planned to be held in 2021.