Coronavirus Epidemic

Campaigning in the local elections

THE GOVERNMENT has stated democracy should not be cancelled because of COVID-19. For this reason, May’s elections – including our local by-elections – will take place, and in a COVID-secure way. Campaigning will be allowed in the run-up to the polls on 6 May.

From 8 March the Government will change the lockdown regulations to support door to door campaigning activity.

Only those who are campaigning for a specific electoral outcome can carry out campaigning activity. This can of course apply to anyone who has been asked by a candidate, party or campaign organiser to participate. Those in charge of campaigns will have to ensure that campaigners are aware of the guidance and of their responsibilities to follow the lockdown rules.

From 8 March, therefore, people who are campaigning in support of the electoral success (or against the electoral success) of candidates or political parties will be allowed to deliver leaflets and canvass electors in relation to the elections taking place on 6 May and for as long as COVID-19 related restrictions remain in place.

The number of campaigners operating together should be kept to an absolute minimum and a minimum 2 metres distance should be maintained between them at all times.

Guidance for campaigners:

Campaigners should not enter a private home. Campaigners may speak to electors on their doorsteps, maintaining at least 2 metres distance at all times. campaigners should ensure that all necessary mitigations are applied including the wearing of face coverings, keeping socially distanced at 2 metres, and sanitising hands between visiting different households.

Campaigners should stay at least 2 metres apart from each other as well as from the electors they are canvassing. Whilst campaigners may wish to have colleagues nearby as part of their campaigning, activity on any individual doorstep should be on a one to one basis. 

The full guidance is at GOV.UK but from Monday 8 March we can expect to see individuals canvassing for our votes and from Monday 29 March, the provision for six people or two households to meet outdoors may support organisational work by campaigners and the holding of meetings outdoors. At this stage, there will be no change to the rules on meeting others indoors.

Hustings and public meetings

Hustings and public meetings must take place remotely during the election period. HU12 Online hopes to facilitate an online opportunity to quiz candidates in the local by-elections.

2 replies »

    • Go on, Rob – go for it!

      I think a key concern is “Can a safe election be organised during the Pandemic?” Everything is possibly going to cost more to keep polling stations COVID-secure – and of course, although unlikely, there’s the risk of elections being postponed last minute because of any spike in outbreaks. And what if some people claim that they’ve caught COVID from campaigners or by actually attending the vote? Will election and campaign organisers be held liable? While I think this is unlikely, the risk assessments involved will have to be extremely thourough.

      An easier route for voters who are concerned is to apply early to vote by post (or proxy) if they want to avoid polling stations.

      A lot of decisions are currently taking place locally (all the proposed industrial developments) and full consultation isn’t taking place because of the Pandemic. I’m of the opinion we need to hold the elections so that we can have a say on these important decisions, and the roles our elected representatives will play.

      Over to you, Rob…. 😀

Leave a comment. You need to leave your FULL NAME.