Northumberland County Council May elections
It will be safety first when the Local Government and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Elections take place on May 6 this year.
Despite the upheaval of the past year, it’s something Northumberland County Council has been working on for many months, and it is really important residents use their vote and make their voice heard on election day.
Councillors are there to represent the views and opinions of individuals and are a voice and a leader for their local community. They help decide how the county council should carry out its various functions and how multi-million-pound budgets are spent.
Also on May 6 people in the region can vote for a Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner. This election was postponed from last year.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are elected representatives who oversee how crime is tackled in the local police force area. Their aim is to cut crime and to ensure the police force is effective.
How to vote safely in person
Kelly Angus, returning officer for Northumberland County Council, says polling stations will be open as normal, with enhanced safety measures in place like hand sanitisers, masks, screens and social distancing. You may have to wait in a queue and observe a one-way system in and out of the polling station. Don’t forget to bring your own pencil, as shared pencils will not be allowed in the polling stations.
The busiest times in polling stations are usually 7-9.30am, 3.30-4.30pm and 6-8pm, so try to visit at quieter times.
If you test positive or are experiencing symptoms, please do not visit a polling station in person. You can apply for an emergency proxy vote on May 6 up till 5pm so someone you know can vote on your behalf.
There will be 227 polling stations situated in every corner of the county on election day and polls will be open as usual from 7am - 10pm.
Postal voting … the safest way
However, you can opt for a postal vote if you prefer, which is by far the safest way to vote this year. You have until April 20 to apply for a postal vote. Residents in Northumberland who are on the electoral register will already have had a letter about postal voting delivered in February. You can simply fill in the form and use the prepaid envelope, ensuring it is back with the council by 5pm on April 20.
Anyone can apply for a postal vote, but it will be particularly appealing for the elderly or infirm, those who live rurally or who may be working and find it difficult to get to their polling station.
For any queries, email [email protected]
This is where you can nominate someone you know as your proxy to vote on your behalf. If you wish to vote this way, you need to apply for a proxy vote and return it by 5pm on April 27 at the latest. You can receive a proxy application form by emailing [email protected] with your full name and address.
Where to vote
Over coming weeks, polling cards will be sent to residents through the post informing them of their elector number and their local polling station. While it is helpful if the card is brought along when residents vote, it is not essential, so if you’ve mislaid it, you can still vote, as long as you are registered and eligible.
If you are unsure where your local polling station is, you can log on to the Northumberland County Council website www.northumberland.gov.uk and type your postcode into the My Place box on the home page. This will bring up details of your nearest polling station.
Recruitment drive – how you can earn some summer spending money
As in previous years the County Council is currently recruiting people to help with the local elections.
There are a range of exciting temporary posts still available to assist with the election – before, on and after election day.
It’s a great way for people to see local democracy in action and make some extra money for summer.
Safety is an absolute priority and full training and support will be given on all the roles.
Roles and rates of pay
Presiding officer - £292.16 (includes training & mileage allowance)
Poll clerk - £196.80 (includes training & mileage allowance)
Postal vote opening assistant - Day £10.30 per hour. Evening £12.88 per hour.
Verification assistant - £18.26 per hour
Count assistant - £12.56 per hour
The council is particularly after poll clerks and presiding officers to help staff the 227 polling stations which will be situated across the county.
No qualifications are needed but those applying must be over 18, eligible to work in the UK, literate and numerate, and on the electoral roll.
For more information go to www.nland.uk/roles