May’s Senedd election won’t be postponed due to coronavirus, the Welsh Government has announced, but there will be "differences".

The election is due to take place on May 6 with "extensive preparations" to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

A joint statement by the UK, Welsh and Scottish Governments released today (March 9) said that "safe and secure elections are fundamental to our democracy" and that "now, more than ever, voters have the right to be heard".

Voters are expected to receive their polling cards soon for the Senedd and postponed Police and Commissioner elections. Local elections in England are also scheduled to take place on May 6.

The UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government said they are working together across parties and with electoral partners and public health bodies to put in place a set of measures to ensure these polls are Covid-secure and voters can feel confident casting their vote.

What are the differences?

  • Voters are encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil to the polling station - although fresh clean pencils will still be available for all.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available, and screens, distance markings and protective barriers will be in use as appropriate at the polling station.
  • Social distancing will be in place both inside and outside polling stations.
  • All voters and staff should wear a face covering
  • Result announcements may take longer due to additional measures to make the counts Covid-secure.
  • Campaigning activity, such as leafleting, will start across the UK as Covid restrictions ease but the pace of this will vary between nations.

There are three ways to vote in May: in person at a polling station; by postal vote; or by appointing a proxy to vote on a voter’s behalf.

The UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government said: "Anyone who feels comfortable going to a supermarket or a post office now can therefore feel confident attending a polling station in May.

"However, we understand that not everyone will wish or be able to vote in person. Therefore, anyone who is shielding, or anyone who would for any reason prefer not to attend a polling station, can apply for a postal or proxy vote in advance of the elections.

"We also remain absolutely clear that anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus, or who is displaying symptoms, should self-isolate.

"The UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government have each put in place new rules to allow for emergency proxy voting leading up to polling day and until 5pm on the day itself. This will mean that voters who are self-isolating due to coronavirus exposure, testing or symptoms can still have their say in these elections without having to leave their home.

"The United Kingdom is world-renowned for running elections of the highest standards in which voters can have full confidence, delivered in each area by the statutorily independent Returning Officer. We have the utmost confidence in the ability of the Returning Officers to run these polls in a way that meets the highest standards of both public safety and democratic integrity.

"We hope that every elector will take the opportunity to have their say in May’s elections with the confidence that the right precautions are in place."