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23/02/2021 – Press Release – Safe to vote – but not to go on holiday?

On 5 February the Government announced that various local elections will take place as scheduled in May. So the Government now proposes elections, but not holidays. Mid Sussex Labour candidates stand ready to replace West Sussex Conservatives who have disastrously administered the County Council for years. But will the election process actually be safe for voters and democracy?

Political parties and local government election officials await advice on how to conduct elections safely. By May millions will have had first jabs. But the nation will not be Covid free. We now expect social distancing requirements to be in place for a long time. Our current legal, democratic election process involves multiple points of social contact. So we face a debate, minimise Covid risks or change the election process that involves many face to face contacts by every political party.

Most polling stations are small. Larger ones like Clair Hall in Haywards Heath is unavailable as it is a Vaccination Centre. So we can expect to see long queues at polling stations. To avoid queues we recommend that people apply for a postal vote. For various reasons not everyone likes that option, despite them being able to vote safely and securely from home.

Before any more money is spent and to avoid a late u-turn postponing election day these concerns must be addressed by the Government. We want elections to take place safely and democratically. If the Government cannot guarantee that we call for postponement until a safer date.

Pam Haigh (Burgess Hill North)

Paul Kenny (Cuckfield & Lucastes)

Greg Mountain (Haywards Heath Town)

Richard Whiting (Haywards Heath East)

Alison Whelan (Hurstpierpoint & Bolney)

Tim Weekes (Lindfield & High Weald)

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