Published: Friday, 30th Apr 2021

On May 6, residents across Bolton will have their say on who will represent them on the issues that affect their day-to-day lives.

After the 2020 elections were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a great deal of work has gone into ensuring everyone can cast their vote next week safely and with confidence.

A number of different votes will be taking place next Thursday:

  • A local councillor will be elected in each of the 20 wards in Bolton (with an additional byelection in the Astley Bridge ward)
  • Elections for the Mayor of Greater Manchester (votes can be cast for both a first choice and a second preference candidate)
  • A Horwich Town Council byelection in the Lever Park ward
  • A referendum on the Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan

On the day, familiar precautionary measures such as social distancing and one-way systems will be in place at each of Bolton’s 147 polling stations.

Bolton Council has secured 400 protective screens to keep the public and polling staff safe, while hand sanitiser will be available at the entrances and exits.

Voters are asked to wear a face covering and to bring their own pen or pencil.

For many residents who prefer not to vote in person, or are unable to, the council’s elections team have been busy processing 45,915 postal ballots, an increase of 9% from 2019.

The election count will also be a little different this year.

Instead of votes being tallied overnight, counting for the local elections will take place during the day on Friday, May 7 with counters working behind protective screens at socially distanced tables.

Fewer people than normal will be able to attend, but the process will be live streamed using Microsoft Teams – anyone can watch using the Microsoft Teams App or through their internet browser on a laptop or PC.

There will also be a dedicated page on the council website to be updated as results come in. 

Votes for the Mayor of Greater Manchester and parish councils will be counted on Saturday, May 8.

Work has been going on for months so Bolton residents can cast their vote in whichever way they feel most comfortable.

Bolton Council’s returning officer, Chief Executive Tony Oakman, said:

“In any normal year, a great deal of planning and preparation goes into organising a local election.

“Despite the additional challenges this year, our top priority remains the same – making sure everyone can have their say on who represents them.

“Work has been going on for months so Bolton residents can cast their vote in whichever way they feel most comfortable be that via post, by proxy or at a COVID secure polling station.”