What voters need to know for Polling Day on Thursday 6 May
Safety measures in place at all Highland polling stations
As people living across the Highlands prepare to go to the poll and cast their votes in the Scottish Parliamentary Election on Thursday 6 May, The Highland Council has created a short video to provide information on what to expect.
The clip, available on the Council’s website - covers all the hygiene and physical distancing measures that will be in place. The council is following the guidelines of Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Management Board to make sure it’s safe and secure for everyone to vote at their polling station.
General Risk assessments and specific COVID assessments have been carried out for every polling station to ensure that all measures are in place for the safety of voters and staff. Extra staff have been recruited to make sure that all measures are adhered to and to make the voting experience as smooth and safe as possible.
Due to physical distancing requirements at all polling stations there will be a limit on how many people are permitted entry any one time.
Upon entering voters will be expected to wear a face covering exactly as when entering shops or using public transport. Hand sanitiser will be made available on entry and exit. The polling place staff will be behind protective screens, but voters will still be able to receive their support when they need it.
Prior to the poll, all the venues being used will be thoroughly cleaned and regular cleaning will be undertaken throughout the hours of polling. Voters are being asked to be patient as they may need to wait to use a booth while it is being cleaned.
Where possible polling stations will have a one-way system and voters will have to follow the signage and any instructions. As for casting votes, anyone is welcome to take along their own pencil or pen, but out of the box new pencils will be available for each voter.
The Returning Officer, Chief Executive Donna Manson suggest people plan ahead. She said: “Our election staff have worked hard to make sure all safety measures for voters are in place. It is a good idea to check the poll card that you will have received as your polling place may have changed since the last election.
“Due to the social distancing rules we do expect queues to form. If there’s a queue, you’ll still be able vote as long as you have joined it before the poll ends at 10pm. Electors may wish to consider avoiding peak times and attending polling stations at quiet periods such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Our polling station staff are there to provide any assistance. Upon arrival they will give you the two ballot papers and answer any questions you have regarding the process.”
Details of the location of all Polling Stations can be found at www.highland.gov.uk/elections
All polling stations will open at 7am on Thursday 6 May and remain open until 10pm.
Electors will be given two ballot papers.
For the 3 Highland local constituencies – Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Inverness and Nairn electors will receive a lilac coloured ballot paper to elect their constituency member. Electors should mark one cross (X) in the box opposite the name of one candidate. The candidate with the most votes wins.
As well as returning a Member of the Scottish Parliament in their constituency, electors will be asked to complete a ballot paper to elect 7 additional members from the Highlands and Islands Regional List to the Scottish Parliament. The regional ballot paper is peach coloured. On the regional ballot paper, electors vote for a party to represent the region. Voters should mark a cross (X) once in the box opposite the name of one party.
The verification and counting of both ballot papers will take place across three Highland count venues over two days. The process will start at 9am on Friday 7 May and continue until the three constituency results are declared on Friday evening. Count staff will return to the count centres on Saturday to continue the process until the Highlands and Islands Regional List result is declared.
People wishing to follow the counts are advised to follow The Highland Council’s twitter account - @HighlandCouncil #SPE21 where regular updates over the two days will be provided from all count venues. News releases providing information on the results as they are declared will also be on the Council’s website – www.highland.gov.uk