Local Borough Elections 2022

Local election results – 5 May 2022

Notice of election 2022

The elections take place at a time when Covid-19 continues to present risks to public health. Depending on the infection rate, measures taken to control the spread of the virus may change as we approach May. This means we cannot currently answer all the questions you may have about how the election will be run. However, we are working hard with central government, the Electoral Commission, the wider electoral community and public health authorities to help ensure you can stay safe when casting your vote in May.

We will update this page with further information as it becomes available. Further information can also be found on the website of the Electoral Commission.

Notice of Election Agents 2022

Situation Of Polling Stations 2022

Check your polling station

Contents

Important dates and deadlines

The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2022.

The deadline to apply to register to vote is midnight on Thursday 14 April 2022.

Postal and postal proxy applications must be received by the Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on Tuesday 19 April 2022 (including changes to existing postal, proxy and postal proxy votes).

Proxy applications must be received by the Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on Tuesday 26 April 2022.

Royal Mail priority post boxes

To help getting important applications to us, Royal Mail have several priority post boxes. These have later collection times, including weekends. Find a priority box in your area.

What elections are taking place?

On Thursday 5 May 2022, residents in Reading will be voting in Local Borough Elections. In May 2022 all Councillors are up for Election which means you will be able to vote for three candidates. This is due to the recent Local Ward Boundary Review

You can find more information regarding these changes at the Local Government Boundary Commission for England website.

Who can vote?

  • you must be registered to vote (deadline to register is midnight on Thursday 14 April 2022) 
  • you must be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
  • you must be a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • you must be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in
  • you must not be legally excluded from voting

How to vote

There are a number of ways to have your say in May 2022. You can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

Polling stations

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.

Please be aware that your polling station and ward name may have changed.  We ask you to ensure you check the information on your poll card so that you know where to vote on 5 May 2022.

Poll cards

You don’t need your poll card to vote.

If you don’t have your poll card, you can go to the polling station and give them your name and address. You don’t need any other form of ID.

If you haven’t received a polling card but think you should have, please contact us to check your registration on 0118 937 3717 or elections@reading.gov.uk

How do I register to vote?

  • The deadline for applying to register to vote is midnight on Thursday 14 April 2022
  • If you are already registered you do not need to re-register to vote
  • To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote. It takes 5 minutes to register and you can do this online at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
  • If you’re unable to register online, you can apply by post. You can download the relevant forms or request for a form to be sent to you by ringing us on 0118 937 3717 or email: elections@reading.gov.uk

Requirement for documentary evidence

  • In some cases, we may require more evidence from you. This is when we have been unable to confirm your identity, which we are required to do by law in order to process your application to register.
  • If this happens, we will let you know and request further evidence. Until we receive this evidence, we will be unable to add you to the electoral register. 
  • Please provide a copy rather than the original document. You can submit your evidence in two ways:
    • By emailing a clear photo (taken on a phone is fine) or scan of the document to elections@reading.gov.uk
    • By sending a photocopy of the document to us by post to: Reading Borough Council, Electoral Services, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU

Voting by post or proxy

Postal and postal proxy applications deadline is 5pm on Tuesday 19 April 2022 including for changes to existing postal, proxy and postal proxy votes.

Proxy application deadline is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April 2022.

Vote by post

To apply to vote by post you need to download, print and fill in a postal vote application form or request for a form to be sent to you by ringing us on 0118 937 3717 or email: elections@reading.gov.uk. You can apply to do this now. This will make sure your application is processed early, and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly once the candidates for the elections are confirmed.

Once you have completed the form and signed it, you need to send it to the Reading Borough Council Electoral Services team either via email at: elections@reading.gov.uk or via post: Reading Borough Council, Electoral Services, Civic Offices, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 2LU.

If you are not able to cast your vote in person, you can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy. The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to cast your vote, or can apply to vote for you by post.

Vote by proxy

To apply for a proxy vote, complete the form to vote by proxy, explaining why you can’t get to your polling station in person or request for a form to be sent to you by ringing us on 0118 937 3717 or email: elections@reading.gov.uk 

Please note we do not make up and send postal vote packs from our office. They are made up and sent by our printing company and we have just two scheduled mailings.

Dispatch dates

  • Poll cards: 30 March 2022 and 26 April 2022 (N.B. you do not need a poll card to vote)
  • Postal and postal proxy packs: 19 April 2022 and 25 April 2022

Please note if you have a postal vote in place by 17 March 2022, your postal vote pack will be sent to you on or around 19 April 2022.

If you apply for a postal vote after 17 March 2022 but before 5pm on 19 April 2022 your postal vote pack will be sent you on or around 25 April 2022.

They will be sent first class but there is no guarantee that they will be delivered the day after they have been posted. Therefore, if you are going to be away and the postal papers are due to be sent to your home address you may need to consider changing that arrangement to be on the safe side.

Is voting by post safe?

Yes, voting by post is safe and proven cases of electoral fraud are rare. When voting by post, you should mark your vote on the ballot paper in secret, and seal the envelope yourself.

You will also be asked to give your date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. This makes postal voting safe, because when you return your postal voting pack your signature and date of birth are checked against those you provided before to confirm your identity.

Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.

Is it safer to vote by post, instead of going in person?

We are working hard to ensure that polling stations will be safe places to vote in May 2022, but you can choose to apply to vote by post or by proxy instead.

Voting in person

Check you know your polling station before 5 May. The recent ward boundary review may mean your usual polling station has changed.

Where is my polling station?

If you have registered to vote, you will receive a poll card through the post from Reading Borough Council.  It will tell you where your polling station is. Make sure you check your poll card before heading out to vote, in case your polling station has changed since you last voted. You can also find out where your polling station is on the Democracy Club website, by entering your postcode.

Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm. You can vote at any time within this window. And don’t forget, you need to go to your designated polling station; you can’t go to a different one, for example, near where you work.

Will there be safety measures in place at the polling station?

Yes, polling stations will be safe places to vote. You can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to in shops or other indoor spaces, such as social distancing and hand sanitiser.

Do I need to take anything with me?

You can help keep yourself and others safe by:

  • wearing a face covering
  • bringing your own pencil or pen
  • sanitising your hands when entering and leaving the polling station
  • Follow signs and guidance from staff at the station to adhere to social distancing
  • keeping a safe distance

Can I still vote if I develop Covid symptoms?

If you become unwell or are self-isolating as a result of Covid-19 shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don’t need to miss out on your vote.

You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone you can trust can vote on your behalf. You can arrange it by speaking to Electoral Services on: 0118 937 3717 or via email elections@reading.gov.uk

What if I forget my face covering, or to bring a pencil or pen?

You should bring your own pencil or pen, in order to minimise contact. You should also wear a face covering so that you can keep yourself, and others, safe on polling day.

If you forget to bring these with you, polling station staff will have spare face coverings and clean pencils available for you. You will not be prevented from entering the polling station if you forget these things. 

How long will it take?

It should only take a few minutes to vote. We have put arrangements in place to help maintain social distancing within the polling station. This means you may have to queue to enter. If you are asked to queue, please be patient and we will work to enable you to vote as quickly as possible.

If you are still in a queue waiting to vote at 10pm, you will be able to vote before the polls close.

What happens when I get there?

Polling station staff will be on hand to greet you and invite you in as soon as polls open at 7am. There will be markers on the floor that will show you which way to go and help you maintain social distancing. Staff will also point out the public health measures that you should follow whilst you’re in the polling station.

The staff will give you a ballot paper listing who you can vote for. In 2022 you will be able to vote for no more than 3 Candidates in your Ward, this is because of the recent Local Ward Boundary Review and all Councillors are up for Election.

Take your ballot paper into a polling booth. There will be a shelf for you to lean and write on. Use your own pencil or pen, or if you forgot to bring one, ask the poll clerks for a clean one.   

How do I complete the ballot paper?

Take your time: read the ballot paper carefully and complete it in line with the instructions.

Don’t write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry – as long as you haven’t already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper.

What do I do with the ballot paper then?

Once you’re done, fold your completed ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box. This will be on the desk beside the Polling Station Staff.

What if I need help?

If you’re not sure what to do, or need any help casting your vote, just ask the staff at the polling station – they will be happy to assist you. There are number of options available at the polling station to help you, including a large print sample ballot paper, and a tactile voting device to help if you have a visual impairment.

You can also take your mobile phone into the polling booth to use magnifier, text-to-speech app, or use the phone torch to improve lighting. When using your phone, you must not take any photos inside the polling station.

You can also ask polling station staff to assist you, or bring someone with you to help you cast your vote. They must be over 18 and eligible to vote in the election.

Please contact the Elections Line on 0118 937 3717 if you have any issues at the polling station on polling day.

What if I have access issues?

If you have a disability which means you can’t fill in the ballot paper yourself, you can ask the presiding officer – the person in charge of the polling station – to mark the ballot paper for you, or you can take someone along with you to help you.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper to refer to when you cast your vote, or a special tactile voting device that is designed so you can mark your ballot paper on your own.

Should I tell anyone who I voted for?

Your vote is yours and yours alone: you do not need to tell anyone how you voted.

Exit polls are sometimes conducted, where people – usually private companies working for newspapers or broadcasters – ask voters leaving the polling station who they voted for to help them predict what the outcome might be. You do not need to respond to their questions if you don’t want to.

Political discussion is not allowed inside and immediately around the polling station and staff will ask you to stop so that there’s no risk of influencing other voters. If you want to debate your vote with friends or family, do it away from the polling station.

What are ‘tellers’? Why are they asking for the number on my poll card?

You might see people outside the polling station who ask you for the number on your poll card. These people are called ‘tellers’, and are volunteering on behalf of candidates or parties. They will use the information you give them to check who has voted, and to remind people who haven’t yet voted, to do so.

They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don’t have to give them any information if you don’t want to. If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.

Can I take selfies or other photos while I’m voting?

You shouldn’t take photos inside the polling station as it might put the secrecy of the ballot at risk.

You are more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote.

Can I take my friend / partner / children / parents / dog?

You can go along to the polling station with whomever you like, but only those registered to vote at that station will be able to go inside. You must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you have a disability, in which case you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station staff for their help.

Children are welcome at polling stations. While your child must not mark the ballot paper for you, you will be allowed to take them into the polling booth with you.

Animals, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside polling stations, so will need to be secured outside if you do decide to take them with you.