WE surely all agree on one thing when it comes to exercising our democratic right to vote: the local council elections cannot, and should not, be deferred for yet another year.
However, after the Prime Minister hinted that significant restrictions on social movement may continue until next March, there were concerns over the management of the May 2021 election procedures, which not only apply to council ward seats, but also to choices for police commissioners and mayors.
Many forecast the need to rely on leaflets and social messaging for campaigning, amid fears that doorstep lobbying would be impossible. That may well continue to be the case. We can only wait and see. But the other concern was over the actual voting process. The very latest indications are that polling stations will be open in May. There will not be, as some ventured to predict, a wholly postal vote. For that to be the case, primary legislation would need to have been prepared by now.
Hence the expectancy of a walk-up led election remains, although in such extraordinary times, nothing is impossible.
Whatever the eventual circumstances, there is no reason why the maximum number of registrations for postal votes should not be encouraged, particularly for older people.
As on-line form-filling is not a favourite British pastime, and because very many older people do not have access to the internet, now is the time for us to at least consider how this need for more postal voting registrations should be managed. And presumably the sooner, the better.
The importance of postal voting cannot be overstated, especially for senior citizens. it is virtually a guaranteed vote, not subject to apathy, bad weather etc on polling day. Finally, it is most likely to appeal to Conservatives.
By Joe Riley, Conservative candidate for Harington Ward, Formby, in the May 2021 Sefton MBC elections
To apply for a postal vote visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote