Forthcoming elections

In response to the Covid-19 emergency, the UK government has passed The Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and the Coronavirus Act 2020, which postpones all polls.

On Thursday 6 May 2021 residents in Herefordshire will go to the polls to vote at the Police and Crime Commissioner elections plus various local by-elections and referendums. Please select the following links to see all information and documentation relating to our forthcoming elections:

The elections will take place at a time when Covid-19 continues to present risks to public health. We are working hard with the Electoral Commission, the wider electoral community and public health authorities to help ensure you can stay safe when casting your vote in May.

We will update this page with further information as it becomes available. Further information is also available on the Electoral Commission website.

Accessible voting

People with a learning disability have the same right to vote as everyone else. That was the message of the inaugural #AccessibleVotingDay on 4 March, run by disability charity United Response.

As part of the day, the charity published survey results which found that only two-thirds of people know that people with learning disabilities have a right to vote. Thirty-six survey respondents reported having been turned away from a polling station because of their disability. You can find out about accessible voting on the Every vote counts website.The voting pages are designed as easy read explainers for people with a disability and their carers and are worth a look.

The Electoral Commission, in partnership with Mencap, have also created an Easy read guide to voting.

Frequently asked questions

When is the election? What elections are taking place?

On Thursday 6 May, residents in Herefordshire will be voting at the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, various local government by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendums. These elections/referendums will be held in May after being postponed in May 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

How can I vote at the May 2021 elections?

There are a number of ways to have your say in May - you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

How can I apply to vote by post or proxy?

To vote - either at a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf as your proxy - you must first be registered to vote, which can be done online in just 5 minutes.

Register to vote at GOV.UK

To then apply to vote by post you need to download, print and fill in a postal vote application form. Once you have completed the form and signed it, you need to send it back to us. You can send us a photo or a scanned copy of your completed application via email, or you can post it to us at Electoral Services, Town Hall, St Owen Street, Hereford, HR1 2PJ.

If you're thinking about voting by post, you can apply to do this now. This will make sure your application is processed early, and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly once the candidates for the elections are confirmed.

If you aren't able to cast your vote in person, you can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy. The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to cast your vote, or can apply to vote for you by post.

To apply for a proxy vote, complete the form to vote by proxy, explaining why you can't get to your polling station in person.

How do I register to vote?

To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote. It takes 5 minutes to register and you can do this online at GOV.UK.

Register to vote at GOV.UK

If you're unable to register online, you can phone our office to register with a member of staff or you can apply by post. You can download the voter registration forms.

Is voting by post safe?

Yes, voting by post is safe and proven cases of electoral fraud are rare. When voting by post, you should mark your vote on the ballot paper in secret, and seal the envelope yourself.

You will also be asked to give your date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. This makes postal voting safe, because when you return your postal voting pack your signature and date of birth are checked against those you provided before to confirm your identity.

Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.

Priority post boxes

Priority post boxes were introduced to help with the collection and onward delivery of Covid test kits, but as elections are also a priority mailing for Royal Mail, they will be providing this enhanced collection service over the election period. If you are a postal voter you can visit the Royal Mail website to find a priority box in your area.

How are you making polling stations safe?

We are putting arrangements in place to help ensure polling stations are safe places to vote. You can expect many of the measures you've become used to over recent months in shops and banks, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face coverings.

Will I need to bring my own pen or pencil?

We recommend that you bring your own pen or pencil to the polling station to minimise contact. There will be clean pencils available for you to use at the polling station if you forget to bring your own.

Do I have to wear a mask to the polling station?

Yes you must wear a mask to the polling station unless you are exempt. If you forget to bring one the staff at the polling station can provide you with one.

Is it safer to vote by post, instead of going in person?

We are working hard to ensure that polling stations will be safe places to vote in May, but you can choose to apply to vote by post or by proxy instead.

Why have I received more than one postal voting pack?

Some areas in the county have Neighbourhood Planning Referendums and Local by-elections taking place alongside the Police & Crime Commissioners Election. You will receive a postal voting pack for each election you are entitled to vote in, so if you are in an area with more than one election/referendum you will receive a postal voting pack for each.

How do you protect postal postal voting from fraud?

When voting by post, you should mark your vote on the ballot paper in secret, and seal the envelope yourself. You will be asked to give your date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote.

When you return your postal voting pack you will again be asked for your signature and date of birth, and these will be checked against those you have already provided in order to confirm your identity.

Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.

What should I do if I find out closer to the time that I need to self-isolate, or my area goes into a local lockdown?

We want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so, regardless of the pandemic. We will be providing more information nearer the time on how you can vote if you need to self-isolate, or live in an area under local lockdown.

You do have different options for voting at the May 2021 elections - you can vote in person, by post or by proxy. You can find more information on the Electoral Commission website.

I am on the NHS Shielded List for Covid-19 - where have you got my details from and why are you writing to me?

It is important that every eligible voter has the opportunity to cast their vote on 6 May. As a result, NHS Digital, as data controller for the NHS Shielded Patient List, has confirmed that local authority election teams can send communications about voting options for the May 2021 elections to clinically extremely vulnerable people. This is only being done for this one purpose.

When an election takes place if it has been requested through a casual vacancy

The election must usually be held within 60 days of the date that the vacancy arises for Parish Council Elections. It must be held within 35 days for Herefordshire Council Elections.

Becoming a candidate

The qualifications for becoming a candidate and the nomination form and other documents are on the Electoral Commission website.

Nominations can only be taken at certain times during the election timetable. More details of these times for specific elections are given on the notice of election.

We will publish nomination papers and statutory notices for elections on this page during each election period.

If you have any questions, there is more general information on the Electoral Commission website or you can call 01432 260107 or email elections@herefordshire.gov.uk