Residents in Portsmouth area urged to register to vote for May elections
RESIDENTS are being urged to register to vote as local elections are set to go ahead this May having been postponed last year due to coronavirus.
Council and Hampshire police and crime commissioner elections have been given the go ahead this year, with people encouraged to vote by post if they have concerns about visiting polling stations in person.
In Portsmouth 14 out of the city council’s 42 seats will be contested, with one councillor voted in for each ward.
And a new Hampshire police and crime commissioner will be selected by county residents.
David Williams, the chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, said the safety of voters was a priority.
‘The elections this year are very important – they’re an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect day-to-day life here in Portsmouth,’ he said.
‘We’re putting arrangements in place to help you stay safe at the polling station; you can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops and banks over recent months, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face coverings. But you also have the option to apply to vote by post or by proxy.’
Local councillors urged people to make their voices heard.
Deputy council leader and Liberal Democrat, Councillor Steve Pitt, said: ‘Participating in local elections is a key way for residents to be able to indicate their support, or lack of support, for decisions taken by the council.
‘It’s very important everyone makes their voice heard especially since elections were postponed in 2020. I would urge anyone who has concerns about voting in polling stations to register for the postal vote as thousands of people in the city already do.’
Leader of the city’s Conservative party, Cllr Donna Jones, agreed. ‘Democracy is important but the safety of the public will always be the priority,’ she said.
‘The government will be keeping an eye on infection rates in the lead up to May. Anyone concerned about visiting a polling station, should register for a postal vote through their local council.'
Labour group leader and city MP Cllr Stephen Morgan added: ‘Coronavirus has reminded us just how vital our local services are, so it’s more important than ever that people have a say in how they’re run.
‘I want to encourage all Portsmouth residents to get registered to vote and to make arrangements for a postal vote so they can vote safely, from home.’
You can register to vote at gov.uk/register-to-vote