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Election / Election planning an ‘additional pressure’ on council workload

Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

PLANNING for the Scottish Parliament election in May is a “huge piece of work” which is adding to council staff’s workload, a meeting heard on Monday.

Corporate services director Christine Ferguson said, however, that “all the work is in hand”.

The Scottish Parliament election is taking place on 6 May but due to the coronavirus pandemic it will feel somewhat different than usual.

Physical distancing and hygiene measures will be in place at polling stations, while the count will not take place overnight as usual.

Lerwick member Stephen Leask asked a meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee whether the use of SIC premises for the election was causing any “sleepless nights”.

Ferguson said: “It hasn’t given me any sleepless nights because we have an excellent team working on it.”

She said the council has carried out assessments on venues and that the “detail is well in hand”.

“I’m very confident in the team that are doing it,” Ferguson said.

“It’s just another additional pressure in terms of workload, and there is the concern about turnout.”

The number of people registered for postal votes has increased in light of the pandemic.

The constituency candidates confirmed for Shetland so far are Beatrice Wishart (Liberal Democrats), Tom Wills (SNP) and Cameron Thompson (Labour).

More parties will be competing in the second vote on the ballot paper, which is for the wider Highlands and Islands regional list.

Candidates and parties have up to 31 March to submit nomination papers.

Applications to register to vote must reach the electoral registration officer by 12 midnight on 19 April.