Published Tuesday, 27th April 2021
With Reigate & Banstead voters due to go to the polls on 6 May, we are urging voters to get ready to vote and answer some common questions about poling day.
There are three elections taking place:
Polling stations will be safe places to vote. If you are voting in person, please keep yourselves and others safe by:
- wearing a face covering
- bringing their own pen or pencil
- cleaning their hands when entering and leaving the polling station
- keeping a safe distance
Mari Roberts-Wood, Electoral Registration Officer for Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, said: “Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 6 May. Your poll card tells you where to find your polling station. Make sure you check the information on it in advance, as your polling station might have changed since the last elections. You do not need your poll card to vote, but we encourage you to bring it with you to make the process quicker and more efficient.
“Voters who have opted to vote by post must return their postal ballot pack by 10pm. You can hand it in at your polling station if you run out of time to return it by post.”
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said: “If you are self-isolating or become unwell as a result of Covid-19, you don’t need to lose your vote. You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote so that someone you trust can vote on your behalf.”
You can apply for an emergency proxy vote by 5pm on polling day by calling our elections line on 01737 276794.
A guide to polling day
Here is a useful guide to what you can expect when voting on 6 May.
How to find your polling station
If you have registered to vote, you will receive a poll card through the post telling you where your polling station is. Make sure you check your poll card before heading out to vote, in case your polling station has changed since you last voted, as there have been some changes. You can also find your polling station by entering your postcode into the ‘Where I Live’ search on our website.
Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm. You can vote at any time within this window. And don’t forget, you need to go to your designated polling station; you can’t go to a different one, for example, near where you work.
What to take with you when you go to vote
Please help keep yourself and others safe by:
- wearing a face covering unless exempt for medical reasons
- bringing your own pen or pencil to minimise contact
- cleaning your hands when entering and leaving the polling station
- keeping a safe distance.
Polling station staff will have spare face coverings and clean pencils available for you if you forget yours.
Safety measures at the polling station
Polling stations will be safe places to vote. You can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops or other indoor spaces, such as social distancing measures, hand sanitiser and screens. Regular cleaning will also take place and staff will point out the public health measures that you should follow whilst you’re in the polling station.
To help maintain social distancing within the polling station, you may have to queue to enter. We will work to enable you to vote as quickly as possible, so please be patient. If you are in the queue waiting to vote at 10pm, you will still be able to vote before the polls close.
How to complete the ballot paper
You will receive three ballot papers – for the Surrey County Council, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Take your time: read the ballot papers carefully and complete them in line with the instructions. Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.
If you make a mistake, as long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper.
Once you're done, fold your completed ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box on the desk beside the poll clerks.
If you need help
Our polling stations have ramps, wheelchair accessible polling booths and visual aids. Polling station staff will be on hand to help anyone who needs it and carers or support workers can also help. Assistance dogs are welcome too.
If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper to refer to when you cast your vote, or a special tactile voting device that is designed so you can mark your ballot paper on your own.
Should I tell anyone who I voted for?
Your vote is yours and yours alone: you do not need to tell anyone how you voted.
Exit polls are sometimes conducted - usually by private companies working for newspapers or broadcasters – to ask voters who they voted for to help them predict what the outcome might be. You do not need to answer their questions if you don’t want to.
Political discussion is not allowed inside and immediately around the polling station so that there’s no risk of influencing other voters. If you want to debate your vote with friends or family, do it away from the polling station.
Tellers might be outside the polling station and ask you for the number on your poll card. They are volunteering on behalf of candidates or parties and use the information to check who has voted, and to remind people who haven't yet voted, to do so.
They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don't have to give it to them if you don’t want to. If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.
Photos or selfies
You shouldn’t take photos inside the polling station as it might put the secrecy of the ballot at risk. You are welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote.
Coming with family, friends, children or your dog?
You can go to the polling station with whomever you like, but only those registered to vote at that station will be able to go inside. You must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you have a disability, in which case you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station staff for their help.
Children are welcome. While your child must not mark the ballot paper for you, you can take them into the polling booth with you.
Animals, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside, so will need to be secured outside if you do decide to take them with you. We love a #petsatpollingstations photo, so do tag us on social media if you take one and we’ll share the best ones.
How you can vote if you develop Covid symptoms
If you become unwell or are self-isolating as a result of Covid-19 shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don’t need to miss out on your vote. You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone you can trust can vote on your behalf. You can arrange it by calling our elections line on 01737 276794.
If you’re voting on behalf of someone else as their proxy, remember that you need to go to their polling station to do so, rather than yours.
Voters who have opted to vote by post need to make sure their postal ballot pack is returned by 10pm on 6 May. If you haven’t got around to posting it in time, you can hand it in at your polling station or hand deliver it to the Town Hall, Reigate, up until 10pm on polling day. You can find your polling station by entering your postcode into the ‘Where I Live’ search on our website.
If you need help completing your postal vote, watch our ‘how to’ video.
To find out who is standing for election in your area, see the Statement of Persons Nominated for each election on our Coming elections page.