Scottish elections: On polling day wear your mask and bring a pencil
As with everything during the pandemic, things are going to be a little bit different as Scotland goes to the polls for the Scottish Parliament election on Thursday, May 6.
Measures are being taken at polling stations across Fife, and the whole of Scotland, to ensure those casting their votes – as well as those working there – are kept safe.
Fife Council is urging voters to get ready to vote later this week, and is assuring them that the Kingdom’s polling places will be safe places.
Those who are voting in person are encouraged to keep themselves and others safe by wearing a face covering; bringing their own pen or pencil; cleaning their hands when entering and leaving the polling station and keeping a safe distance.
Morag Ferguson, depute returning officer for Fife, said: “Your poll card will tell you where to find your polling place.
"Make sure you check the information on your polling card, as your polling place might have changed since the last elections.
"You do not need your poll card to vote, however, we encourage you to bring it with you to make the process quicker and more efficient.”
Fifers are reminded that any voters with symptoms of Covid-19, or anyone who has been asked to self-isolate, should not attend at a polling station.
Anyone who develops symptoms or is asked to self-isolate shortly before election day has up to 5pm on Thursday, May 6 to apply for an emergency proxy vote.
Andy O’Neill, head of the Electoral Commission in Scotland, said: “If you are self-isolating or become unwell as a result of Covid-19, you don’t need to lose your vote.
"You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote so that someone you trust can vote on your behalf.”
Other changes to the regular election process this year include the use of some different venues as polling places due to the size limitations of some to ensure social distancing can be maintained. Some will now cast their votes in hotels, a theatre and even a gym.
Once all the votes are cast there will be no overnight count, but instead the votes will be counted over two days.
On Friday, May 7 the votes for Cowdenbeath, Kirkcaldy and the North East Fife constituencies will be counted.
The following day, Saturday, May 8, votes will be counted for the Dunfermline and Mid Fife and Glenrothes constituencies, as well as the regional list votes for Fife.
The counts, which are split between the Michael Woods Sports Centre and Fife Council’s Rothesay House in Glenrothes will involve a team of less people than in previous elections to ensure everyone’s safety and that distancing is in place.
The timings for Fifers to cast their votes will not change, and the region’s polling places will be open from 7am to 10pm next Thursday as usual.
Voters who have opted to vote by post – of which there has been an increase on previous elections – must return their postal ballot by 10pm on election day. It can be handed in at their polling place if they don’t have time to return it by post.
For further information on how to apply for an emergency proxy, voters should call 01345 55 55 11.