Labour calls for more postal vote sign-ups ahead of Super Thursday elections

Labour tonight launches a major push on postal votes ahead of May’s crunch elections.

Millions of voters are due to cast ballots for councils, mayors and the Scottish and Welsh parliaments on “Super Thursday”, May 6.

Ministers have announced £31million will be pumped into making polling stations Covid-secure.

But Labour believes the Government should encourage voters to apply for postal votes to ensure their voices are heard.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Yet again ministers are burying their heads in the sand with voters set to go to the polls in the biggest set of elections we have ever seen outside of a general election in just 10 weeks’ time.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner

“The Government has had nearly a year to sort this out and protect our democracy, but ministers have once again been too slow to act.

“With 10 weeks to go, we are yet to see a proper plan from the Government setting out how these elections will be run safely, while councils face shortages of electoral staff, lack of venues and funding uncertainty.

“The Government’s failure to take any action to encourage people to sign up to vote safely from home risks creating a perfect storm of the disenfranchisement of millions of voters and potentially dangerous crowds at polling stations.”

Constitution Minister Chloe Smith confirmed earlier this month that elections would go ahead, having been shelved last spring as Britain battled the first coronavirus wave.

Constitution Minister Chloe Smith

Voters must take their own pens to cross a box and wear face masks at polling stations.

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There will be divider screens and hand sanitiser to help stifle the spread of disease.

An Electoral Commission spokeswoman said: “Voters have a range of options for casting their vote in May – at a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone they trust to vote as a proxy on their behalf.

“Our priority is to ensure voters have the information they need to make the right decision for their individual circumstances.

“For those who wish to vote in person, safety measures, such as face coverings, hand sanitiser and social distancing, will be in place to make polling stations safe places to vote and to work.

“The electoral community has been preparing for Covid-safe elections since last March, when the 2020 elections were postponed.

“Together, we have taken steps to help everyone involved take part safely and confidently.”

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “The independent Electoral Commission will soon launch a comprehensive public information campaign so that voters are fully informed about how to participate.

“We have put in place a strong set of measures to give voters the confidence to have their say and a choice on how to do so – at a Covid-secure polling station, by post or by appointing a proxy.

“We have also published a clear action plan to ensure that the elections can go ahead in a fair and Covid-secure way and allocated £31m in extra funding for local authorities.”

But, in a video published online tomorrow, Ms Rayner claims: “The truth is, the Tories don’t want you to vote.”



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