Man walks in to polling station.

LGIU: Majority of councils concerned over ability to hold local elections

The Local Government Information Unit has revealed the results of its survey that show over two thirds of councils are concerned over their ability to effectively deliver local elections in May.

The survey, which included responses from 353 Chief Executives, Democratic Services Officers and Council Leaders showed that 69% of them think that postponing the elections until Autumn would be the best course of action, not only for the councils running them, but also for the public who are having to go to polling stations.

Local authorities expressed concerns regarding the recruitment and training of electoral workers needed for local elections to take place.

With Government targets of having every adult in the UK offered the vaccine by September, many councils believe that delaying the elections until after this period will be the most achievable outcome.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGIU said:

“Local government is committed to democracy, but the overwhelming view from councils is that it is no longer possible to hold safe and open elections in May. The logistical challenges are formidable and there’s a real risk that we effectively disenfranchise millions of people who do not feel safe going to the polls.

“The worst scenario of all would be for the Government to push ahead only to have to make a U-turn late in the day when councils will already have spent a fortune in money and time preparing. Better to take a bold decision now to delay the elections and use the additional time to ensure they can be run safely.

“Such measures should include the vaccination of poll workers and an expansion of postal voting. Public confidence in elections is an essential foundation of our democracy; once lost it takes years to rebuild. That risk is not worth taking.”

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