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Election / Folk reminded to consider voting by post in winter election

PEOPLE in Shetland are being reminded to think about whether they intend to vote in the upcoming general election by post amid concerns over the effect the winter weather may have on folk attending polling stations.

The election is being held on 12 December – the first general election in December since 1923.

As previously reported, Shetland’s returning officer Jan Riise said the winter weather is a high priority for election staff, with ballot boxes due to be transported from the North Isles by ferry to the mainland.

The count for the Orkney and Shetland constituency will take place in Kirkwall, with Shetland’s ballot boxes due to be flown south after polls shut at 10pm.

Concerns have also been expressed about people’s ability to attend polling stations in bad weather – meaning that postal votes could be a popular option.

Shetland already has a number of postal voters, although they are mainly in the outlying islands.

“There is a higher than usual risk of disruption given that the election is taking place in the depths of winter,” said Orkney and Shetland returning officer John Mundell.

“Harsh weather could have an impact on the election process, including the ability of the electorate to get out to vote on the day.

“I would encourage people to apply now if they think that a postal vote would be a good option for December’s election – and suggest to friends, neighbours and family members that they consider doing the same.”

To apply to vote by post, Shetland residents should contact the Electoral Registration Office at 20 Commercial Road, Lerwick. It can reached by phone on 01595 745700 or by e-mail on ero@shetland.gov.uk

People do not need to apply if they are already registered, and they will receive postal voting packs later this month.

There are six candidates in the running for the Orkney and Shetland seat. They are in alphabetical order:

David Barnard (independent), Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrats), Coilla Drake (Labour), Jenny Fairbairn (Conservatives), Robert Leslie (SNP), Robert Smith (Brexit Party).

Read about all of the candidates on Shetland News‘ election page.