Frequently Asked Questions 

When are the elections and what elections are taking place?

On Thursday 6 May, residents in North Devon will be voting for a Police and Crime Commissioner, Devon County Council Councillors and possibly casual elections in some parish or towns after being postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

How can I vote at the May 2021 elections?

There are a number of ways to have your say in May. 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.

How do I 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 www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you're unable to register online, you can apply by post. You can download the relevant forms at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/register-vote-and-update-your-details

Once you have completed the form and signed it, please send it to the address below:

Electoral Services
North Devon District Council
Lynton House
Commercial Road
Barnstaple
EX31 1DG

You can also scan and email your signed form to elections@northdevon.gov.uk

Absent Voting - Postal or Proxy Voting

If you are going to be away or have difficulties attending your polling station to vote you can set up an absent vote. This can be by postal voting or setting up a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Once you have printed off your form please scan it and email to elections@northdevon.gov.uk or return it by post to:
Electoral Services
North Devon Council
Lynton House
Commercial Road
Barnstaple
EX31 1DG

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.

I have become ill or can't get to the Polling Station due to work after the close of proxy voting deadline?

You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 17:00 on the polling day.

How do I register to vote if I'm at university?

Students can vote using their university or home address. It is legal to be registered in two areas, but a criminal offence to vote in both. If students are already registered at their home address, they could use a postal vote or proxy vote if they are not there on election day.

People who are working away from home or on holiday on election day can also vote by post or proxy, which means nominating someone to cast a vote for you. Your proxy must be aged 18 or over and also registered. If you are suddenly incapacitated or taken ill after the close of proxy applications, you can apply for an emergency proxy up until 17:00 on the polling day.

What about the armed forces?

Members of the armed forces overseas, or their spouse or civil partner, can register as a service voter or ordinary voter to vote by post or proxy. A service voter means you are registered at a fixed address in the UK for five years.

Can I register to vote if I do not have a fixed address?

If you do not have a permanent address, you can register by filling in a "declaration of local connection" form.

Can I register to vote anonymously?

If you are concerned about your name and address appearing on the electoral register you need to fill in a form and explain why your safety - or that of someone in your household - would be at risk.

Can I get help with registering if I have a learning disability?

The Electoral Commission has produced an "easy-read" version of the registration form in English and Welsh. People with a disability can get help completing an application, but the person who wants to register to vote has to make the declaration.

How are you making polling stations safe?

We are putting arrangements in place to help ensure polling stations are safe places to vote. You can expect many of the measures you've become used to over recent months in shops and banks, such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face coverings.

As we prepare for the elections we will make sure that we are following the most up to date guidance. We will continue to update this page as more information and guidance becomes available.

Will I need to bring my own pen or pencil?

Guidance in this area is still being developed, but you are always welcome to use your own pen or pencil. We are working with the UK government, members of the electoral community and public health authorities to help ensure polling station are safe places to vote at the May 2021 elections.

We will update this page with new information as it becomes available.

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, but you can choose to apply to vote by post or by proxy instead. You can apply now up to 11 working days before the day of election.

What should I do if I find out closer to the time that I need to self-isolate, or my area goes into a local lockdown?

We want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to vote is able to do so, regardless of the pandemic. We will be providing more information nearer the time on how you can vote if you need to self-isolate, or live in an area under local lockdown.

You do have different options for voting at the May 2021 elections - you can vote in person, by post or by proxy. You can find more information on: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter.

How do I stand for the Devon County Council Elections?

Devon County Council have produced a guide for potential candidates. Details regarding the North Devon District Council area such as Nomination Papers, the Notice of Election and absent voting details can be found on the current information page.

How do I stand for the Police and Crime Commissioner role?

The Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) is responsible for the overall running of the election with each area responsible for their own District. The PARO is based at Exeter City Council and they have produced guidance for potential candidates. Details regarding the Notice of Election and absent voting details can be found on the current information page.

Who are the Candidates standing for the Devon County Council Elections?

View the Candidates

Who are the Candidates standing for the Police and Crime Commissioner role?

View the Candidates

Information on the Candidates will be available on the Choose My PCC website after the close of Nominations.

What is the Supplementary Vote System used for this election?

The Police and Crime Commissioner is elected using a system called the Supplementary Vote (SV).