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Voting in a pandemic – how can you do it?

Your vote is your say. It's your democratic right. Use your vote

The Government has confirmed that local elections will go ahead in May, and here at Sheffield City Council we are doing all we can to make voting as easy and safe as possible.

The local election, Police and Crime Commissioner election and the Sheffield Governance Referendum are all due to take place on 6 May 2021, after they were postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This means that residents in Sheffield who are eligible and have registered to vote will have the opportunity to vote for their local councillors, and in a separate poll, for the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

This year there will also be a referendum to vote on the way that the council is run, with voters asked to choose between the current Leader and Cabinet model and the Committee model. We’ll be sending more information to voters about the choices shortly.

Plans to ensure that voting is as simple and Covid-secure as possible, are now being finalised, whether that’s in person, by post, or by proxy. However you choose to vote, a huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes to make sure that this is as safe as possible. If you choose to vote in person at a polling station, there will be a number of procedures in place to ensure that this is done in a Covid-secure way. There will be limits on the number of people allowed in the polling station at any one-time, social distancing measures in place, and regular cleaning of all touch points. Voters and staff will also need to wear a face covering, unless they are exempt on medical grounds, and bring their own pen or pencil to mark their ballots.

If you would prefer to vote by post this year, we are making it easier than ever. We are sending out a postal vote application form with every poll card when they are issued in March. Instead of going online to print off an application form, people wishing to vote by post simply need to complete and return the application form using the free-post envelope provided, making sure it reaches us by 5pm on Tuesday 20th April 2021. We will then send you a postal vote for all three elections. You can also apply now for postal voting if you prefer here.

Whichever method you choose, you must have registered by Monday 19th April 2021 to be able to vote.

You don’t need to register for every election, but you must register again if you’ve changed address, name or nationality recently. You can do this online here.

Kate Josephs, Chief Executive and Returning Officer at Sheffield City Council said: “This year’s elections will be like no other held before. With three postponed elections taking place during Covid-19, we are carefully navigating our way through the Covid regulations and guidance to ensure that polling is as safe and accessible as possible for the people of Sheffield.

I would appeal to everyone to look out for their poll card and have taken the necessary steps to ensure they can vote on 6 May, whether that’s checking if they’re registered, applying for a postal vote or arranging a proxy vote in good time. It is important that everyone in Sheffield has their say on matters that affect them, their community and their city.”

To find out more about the elections, please visit