Call for Lincolnshire elections to be delayed until Autumn

The Electoral Commission has called for local elections, due to be held in May, to be postponed “due to the growing risks” of Coronavirus.

Lincoln, North East Lincolnshire and the Police and Crime Commissioners in Lincolnshire and Humberside all face the public vote on May 7 this year and preparations will already be well underway.

If agreed, the commission wants the election to be moved to autumn.

In a letter to the UK Govenment the commission said it had been in close contact with key stakeholders.

However, they added:  “It has already become clear that the risks are so significant as to raise serious concerns about the polls continuing to their current timetable.”

The commission says, however, local authorities will have concerns, while “many forms of campaigning may not be possible, leaving insufficient space for arguments to be heard.

“We also anticipate that as a result of the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19, there will be significant numbers of registered electors who in practice will not have opportunity to vote, or feel inclined to vote,” it said.

“While increased access to post and proxy voting may provide a partial solution for some electors, it would create further and additional pressures and risks in other parts of the system.

“The risks to delivery that have been identified are such that we cannot be confident that voters will be able to participate in the polls safely and confidently, nor that campaigners and parties will be able to put their case to the electorate.”

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