Watch a recording of our recent election webinar
On Thursday 15 April we hosted a webinar for candidates and agents to provide the latest updates on the upcoming elections and to answer as many as questions as possible.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend. For those who weren’t able to make it, you are now able to watch a recording of the event. Please feel free to share the link with anyone who you think may find it useful.
Below are some key points that were covered but please do watch the recording to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the information shared.
We are hosting another online webinar on 4 May at 5pm to go through final details and to answer any further questions people may have. A link will be sent out for this in due course.
Elections and referendums – count venues
To find out which venue the election and referendum ballots from the different areas are being counted, please take a look at this document. The spreadsheet has three tabs – Unitary, Parish, and NPR (Neighbourhood Planning Referendum)
Viewing postal vote opening
•Unlike previous years, when postal vote opening has taken place at Monkton Park, this year’s postal vote opening is taking place at County Hall, Trowbridge.
•In order to maintain social distancing at our sites you will need to book an appointment to observe postal vote opening.
•Hour long slots will be available from the 21 April right through to the 6th of May and there are 20 slots per session.
•We can’t guarantee which areas votes will be opened at what time but the overall purpose is for you to observe the process and ensure that everything is being carried out in a correct and transparent way.
•You will not be able to see individual ballot papers, which must, in any event, remain face down both before and whilst the polls are open.
Attendance at polling stations
•This year, with the COVID-secure measures we have had to put in place, whilst you can still attend polling stations, we’d strongly encourage you to visit one of the bigger ones in your local area.
•At some of our smaller polling stations there will be a one in, one out policy so if you do attend one of those then you might inadvertently hold up people from voting.
•There is a list of polling stations on our website for you to download.There are 348 in total. The list can be found at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/elections-2021
•Upon entering the polling station, for the safety of electors, staff on duty and any others in attendance, you will be required to wear a face-covering, use hand sanitiser upon arrival, and observe social distancing rules.
Tellers at polling stations
•Please ensure tellers stay outside, away from any queueing members of the public, and observe social distancing measures
•For the safety of voters and staff at the polling stations, tellers should wear face coveriings.
•Tellers should observe social distancing with each other and when interacting with voters must remain outside the polling station
Plans for the count
•With the restrictions on numbers it is proving extremely difficult to plan the verification. There are over 1,000 candidates in total and it will be impossible to accommodate just the candidates alone for the verification as all ballot papers for all election types will be verified at the same time.
•To give you an idea of the challenge, at Five Rivers we can accommodate 79 observers per session, at County Hall 60 and at The Olympiad 57.
•We will respect your legal right to observe and we’ll ensure the process is as transparent as possible
•There will be a significant reduction in the number of people we would normally have in our buildings during a count. The verification and count will be staggered, and you will be provided with the session at which your division is being counted as soon as possible.
•One role that is new this year is the role of the count host. Each division will have an allocated count host to oversee attendees during the count.
•This year our count teams will have four counters plus a supervisor, when usually it’s six counters plus a supervisor.
Police and Crime Commissioner Election
•The verification of the Police and Crime Commissioner ballot papers for the Swindon Borough Council area will take place on Thursday evening in Swindon
•Police and Crime Commissioner candidates will be able to nominate additional guests for the count due to a smaller number of candidates and the count being for that election only, and therefore increased capacity at the count venue on Monday.
•We will contact you shortly with regards to the number of observers you may appoint for the count.
•For the unitary division count numbers will be limited to a maximum of two per candidate – the candidate and either their agent or a guest.
•If you choose not to bring an agent or guest with you then the floor spot they would have been allocated will be spare for that count session. It cannot be allocated to another candidate.
•Only accredited candidates and their agents/ guests will be permitted access to each count session, so it is important you register to attend.
•Observing is all about instilling confidence in yourselves that the count is being conducted in a proper, legal, and transparent way, and even though the set-up will be different, that reassurance should still be provided.
City, town and parish
•If you are a city, town or parish council candidate then we will not be able to confirm the details of your count slot until we know who is attending the count. This is because some areas have large numbers of candidates to accommodate.
Upcoming key dates