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election

Look out for your polling card

The Scottish Parliamentary Election will take place on Thursday, May 6.

Polling cards will be arriving through letterboxes across Orkney in the coming days, for all those eligible to vote at the Scottish Parliament election on May 6.

Orkney Islands Council has advised, this week, that two of the county’s regular polling stations have moved for this election.

Kirkwall voters are invited to attend at the Pickaquoy Centre rather than the St Magnus Centre to accommodate COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

The South Ronaldsay and Burray Polling Station is also on the move – to the Cromarty Hall and not the ‘Hope School.

The polling cards delivered to homes across the county detail where voters should cast their vote – and how you can make arrangements for a postal vote.

Anyone can apply for a postal vote, whatever their reason, so long as they contact the electoral registration office before 5pm on Tuesday, April 6.

Postal vote packs will be sent out during the week commencing April 19. Voters who have trouble keeping their signatures consistent can apply for a “waiver” whereby they won’t need to sign their postal voting statement and therefore can still cast their vote on the ballot papers contained in the pack.

If you don’t receive your polling card, you should check that you are actually on the Electoral Register by contacting the local Electoral Registration Office on 01856 876222.

On election day, polling Stations will be open from 7am to 10pm and all safety precautions and guidance measures will be adhered to.

This includes physical distancing, limitations on the numbers inside where necessary and one-way systems where possible. Face coverings and hand sanitiser will be available on entry and exit, staff will be behind protective screens, and venues will be cleaned thoroughly throughout the day.

Voters are welcome to take their own pen or pencil, however there will be a fresh, clean one available for each person.

John Mundell, Returning Officer for Orkney, said: “We are having to do some things differently this year due to the ongoing restrictions and to ensure we are adhering to all the necessary precautions and Covid-19 safety measures. This has necessitated a move for two of our Polling Stations.

“I would encourage people to apply now if they feel a postal vote would be the best option for them. We are endeavouring to provide a convenient and safe way for anyone to place their vote, whether it be postal, proxy (someone who votes on your behalf) or indeed by coming along to your nearest Polling Station. Our election team aims to provide as much assistance as possible to the people of Orkney to enable everyone to cast their vote.

“If you don’t receive your polling card or have any queries about how to vote, then please contact the Electoral Registration Office.”

If you’re registered to vote, you can download an application form for a postal vote at http://www.orkney-shetland-vjb.co.uk

Once completed, the form can be posted to the Electoral Registration Office, 8 Broad Street, Kirkwall KW15 1NX,or a scanned copy can be emailed to ero@orkney.gov.uk

Alternatively, phone the local Electoral Registration Office on 01856 876222 or email ero@orkney.gov.uk to request an application form.

Anyone resident in Scotland who will be aged 16 or over on 6 May can register to vote. The deadline for registering is midnight on April 19 – and you can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The count this time will not be overnight but instead will take place the following morning on Friday, May 7.

For further information on the election please visit our dedicated elections web page here – https://www.orkney.gov.uk/Council/C/elections.htm