Voters have been urged to bring a face mask and their own pen or pencil when voting in the local elections on May 6.

Guidelines have been put in place to ensure the safety of voters and staff from Covid-19 they visit the polls next week.

The number of voters allowed inside any polling station at one time will be restricted and some will be operating a one in one out system.

“If you are voting in person, make sure you remember to bring your face covering and a pen or pencil with you,” said “Ailsa Irvine, director of electoral administration and guidance at the Electoral Commission, said.

“At the polling station, help keep yourself and others safe by following the safety measures, including sanitising your hands and keeping a safe distance from others.

“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.”

Georgina Blakemore, chief executive of Epping Forest District Council added: “Your poll card will tell you where to find your polling station. Make sure you check the information on your polling card, as your polling station might have changed since the last elections. You do not need your poll card to vote, however, we encourage you to bring it with you to make the process quicker and more efficient.

“Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, May 6. Voters who have opted to vote by post must return their postal ballot pack by 10pm; they can hand it in at their polling station if they don’t have time to return it by post.”

Across the Epping Forest District there are 4 polls taking place: Essex County Council elections; district council elections; parish and town elections; and Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner elections.

Voters should not attend the polling station if they have symptoms of Covid-19, or if they have been asked to self-isolate.

Anyone who develops symptoms or is asked to self-isolate shortly before polling day, has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote. This allows them to nominate someone they trust to vote on their behalf.

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