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May 2021 Elections FAQs

On Thursday 6 May 2021 there will be elections in Eastbourne and Lewes.

The elections will 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 have about how the election will be run. However, we are working hard to ensure you can stay safe when casting your vote next May.

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

This page was last updated on 27 November 2020.

Thursday 6th May - Eastbourne residents will be voting for East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Thursday 6th May - Lewes District residents will be voting for East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections. In some areas of Lewes District there will also be additional elections/referendum:

  • Chailey Neighbourhood planning referendum

  • Telscombe Town Council

  • Newhaven Town Council (Denton and South Wards only)

  • Seaford Town Council

  • Seaford East District Council

  • Seaford West District Council

You can either -

  1. Vote in person at your polling station

  2. Vote by post (known as a postal vote)

  3. Appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf (known as a proxy vote)

You must first be registered to vote. You can check that you are on the Electoral Register by contacting our Customer First Team:

Eastbourne: 01323 410000
Lewes: 01273 471600

If you have recently moved or know that you are not registered, then you can register online on the GOV.UK website.

If you decide to apply for a postal vote, you can 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.

To apply to vote by post you need to complete a postal vote application. You can download, print and fill in an application form from the Electoral Commission website.

Or contact our Customer First Team who can arrange for an application to be sent to you:

Eastbourne: 01323 410000
Lewes: 01273 471600

Once you have completed the form and signed it, you need to send it to the Electoral Services Team:

Eastbourne: Electoral Services Eastbourne, Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG
Lewes: Electoral Services Lewes, Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG

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 on the postal voting statement and this will be checked against those you provided on your postal vote application form to confirm your identity.

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

If you are unable to cast your vote in person or by postal vote, 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.

To apply for a proxy vote you need to complete a proxy application form. You can download, print and fill in the application form from the Electoral Commission website.

Or contact our Customer First Team who can arrange for an application to be sent to you:

Eastbourne: 01323 410000
Lewes: 01273 471600

Once you have completed the form and signed it, you need to send it to the Electoral Services Team:

Eastbourne: Electoral Services Eastbourne, Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG
Lewes: Electoral Services Lewes, Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG

The person voting on your behalf will need to go to your polling station to cast your vote. However, if your proxy is unable to cast your vote in person at your polling station they can apply to vote for you by post. To do this, your appointed proxy will need to contact us to request a postal proxy application form. This can be done by emailing:

Eastbourne: elections@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk
Lewes: electoral@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk

We are putting arrangements in place to help ensure polling station are safe places to vote. You can expect many of the measures you have become used to over recent months in shops and banks; such as a queuing system, hand sanitiser, face coverings, staff behind clear screens, voting booths regularly cleaned.

We will continue to seek advice from public health and the Electoral Commission as we prepare for the elections to make sure we are following the most up to date guidance.

We will continue to update this page as more information and guidance becomes available.

In light of Covid-19, all of the polling stations in Eastbourne and Lewes will be making use of a new digital tablet solution within the station, which will minimise the number of staff required and reduce queuing time for voters which will help mitigate the risk for everyone involved.

The new technology minimises touchpoints and automates the process of voting as much as possible, whilst maintaining security, accuracy and integrity of the election process.

Poll cards will be printed with a QR code which is individual to each elector and can be scanned by the staff at the polling station, marking the register electronically. Ballot papers will then be issued and marked by the voter in the usual way and the polling booths sanitised at regular intervals.

We would like to encourage all voters to bring their poll card with them on election day, to ensure they can be dealt with quickly and efficiently and lessen queuing time.

Guidance in this area is still being developed, but you are always welcome to use your own pen or pencil.

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.

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.