When do polling stations open and close on Thursday? Opening times for UK local elections 2021 explained

There is plenty of time to get your votes in, though things may look a little different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
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Polling stations have opened for voters to cast their ballots in a set of elections which could shake up British politics and have profound implications for the future of the United Kingdom.

Considered one of the largest tests of political opinion outside of a general election in recent years, both the future of the Labour Party and the state of the Union are among the issues at play.

It’s a day that’s being dubbed “Super Thursday” due to the bumper crop of votes that will be on the ballot paper, with many elections postponed from last May because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Polling stations opened at 7am across Great Britain and will close at 10pm (Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)Polling stations opened at 7am across Great Britain and will close at 10pm (Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Polling stations opened at 7am across Great Britain and will close at 10pm (Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Votes taking place across the UK include parliamentary elections taking place in Scotland and Wales, local elections in England, and in London for Mayor and the London Assembly.

But what time do polling stations open, and when do they close?

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What time do polling stations open?

(Image: NationalWorld)(Image: NationalWorld)
(Image: NationalWorld)

Polling stations opened at 7am across Great Britain.

"Voters can expect to see many of the measures we’ve all become used to over recent months in banks, shops and other indoor spaces,” says Electoral Commission guidance, “such as hand sanitiser, floor markings and face coverings.”

There may also be ‘greeters’ on hand to control queues and manage entry to the station for social distancing purposes, as well as to encourage voters to abide by the public health measures in place, such as the wearing of face coverings.

Unlike previous elections, the public are being encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil to the polling station as an extra precautionary measure against the spread of Covid-19.

However, polling stations are being advised to ensure they have a spare stock of single-use or ‘cleaned’ pencils available to provide for use where needed.

When do they close?

Polling stations will close on Thursday at 10pm. You will be allowed to vote as long as you are in the queue before closing time.

The coronavirus pandemic means it could be more than 48 hours before all the results are counted.

As to when we might know the results of the many votes taking place, estimated declaration times have always come with a warning they should be taken only as a rough guide and are subject to change.

Such times have been even harder to produce this year because of the circumstances of the pandemic, with authorities unsure how long it will take to count votes while keeping to social distancing requirements.

Declarations times will vary from area to area, with some saying that results will be known from Friday evening, while others may take a few days longer; although voting ends at 10pm on Thursday, the final results are not expected until Monday.

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