With 50 days to go before the rescheduled elections for London Mayor and the London Assembly on 6 May, a video has been released describing measures planned to ensure the Covid safety of polling stations across the capital.
Produced by London’s boroughs, the Electoral Commission and London Elects, the team which organises the elections from City Hall, it seeks to reassure Londoners that they should feel as confident about visiting a polling station as going to a supermarket or Post Office.
The two-minute film informs voters that there will be extra staff and signage, screens, hand-sanitiser and individual pencils provided for those who don’t bring their own. Voters will be asked to wear face-coverings and sanitise their hands on the way in. Restrictions on the numbers allowed in stations or a one-in, one-out system might be used to ensure social distancing.
There are concerns among politicians that continuing anxiety about Covid might contribute to a low turnout on top of possible voter apathy due to the consistently large opinion poll leads being enjoyed by the incumbent Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who is seeking a second term in the job. Both Khan the Green Party candidate Sian Berry have been encouraging Londoners to apply for postal votes.
A recent poll by Redfield & Wilton found that 56 per cent of Londoners say they intend to vote in person, 36 per cent by post and eight per cent by means of a proxy.
Among Londoners who described themselves as “likely to vote”, 55 per cent said they would feel comfortable about voting in person compared with 43 per cent who said they would feel uncomfortable.
The poll also found that 64 per cent of Londoners think the elections should go ahead and 36 per cent think they should again be postponed.
London Elects has already said that the counting of votes will take place over two days this year – Friday 7 May and Saturday 8 May – instead of one in order to ensure the safety of staff at the three count centres, Olympia, Alexandra Palace and ExCel.
The results of the 14 elections for Assembly constituency members will be announced at the count centres and those for Mayor and the 11 Londonwide AMs will be declared on the evening of 8 May or the morning of Sunday 9 May, London elects says.
The full list of candidates for Mayor and Assembly will be announced on 1 April at the latest, with nominations having to be submitted by 30 March.
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