As people living across Na h-Eileanan an Iar prepare to go to the polls and cast their votes in the Scottish Parliamentary Election on Thursday 6 May, Malcolm Burr, Constituency Returning Officer, is reminding voters of what they need to know to have their say on polling day.
“The Comhairle is following the guidelines from 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 each polling station to ensure that 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 polling stations there will be a limit on how many people are permitted entry any one time.
Upon entering a polling station, 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 support if 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. Voters are invited to take along their own pencil or pen, but single use pencils will be available in the polling station.
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
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 Na h-Eileanan an Iar Constituency, voters 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. 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 or individual to represent the region. Voters should mark a cross (X) once in the box opposite the name of one party or individual candidate.
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.
The verification and counting of both ballot papers will start at 9am on Friday 7 May and people wishing to follow the count are advised to follow the Comhairle’s Twitter account - @cne_siar and Facebook page where regular updates will be provided throughout the day.