BRADFORD residents will today go to the polls for the first time since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

And the virus will cast its shadow over the election process - with increased safety measures and a delayed vote count.

Residents in the Bradford District will have the chance to have their say on who represents them at Local Council elections, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Mayoral election and in some areas, Town Council elections and Neighbourhood Plan referendums.

The polling stations may look different this year to make them safe places to vote.

Polling staff will be behind screens and wiping down surfaces in the polling booths and on the ballot boxes regularly.

The number of people allowed in the polling station may be limited due to social distancing reasons, and once inside voters will be guided with route markers.

Hand sanitiser and cleansing wipes will be provided in voting compartments.

Social distancing requirements means polling stations will operate differently. Less people may be allowed into the polling station so you may need to queue outside.

Voters will be asked to wear a face covering unless exempt, use the hand sanitiser when they enter the polling station and again when they leave.

People have been advised to bring their own pen or pencil to mark your ballot paper, although a pencil will be provided in each voting compartment if needed.

They will be asked to follow social distancing rules in and around the polling station.

Anyone showing signs of Covid infection on polling day should, along with relatives, have a test and remain at home and not have visitors until you get your test results. People with symptoms have been asked to not attend the polling station.

There are government measures in place so anyone who needs to self-isolate with Coronavirus will still be able to vote with an emergency proxy vote. Anyone who is registered to vote can request an emergency proxy up to 5pm today.

For more information on proxy voting visit

Kersten England, the Returning Officer for the Bradford District, said: “It’s important to make sure your voice is heard at the elections, and we are putting measures in place to help you cast your vote safely.

“People can expect the same requirements they have become used to in shops and other businesses over the last year, such as Perspex screens, using sanitiser and wearing a face mask.

“There will be restrictions on the number of people in a polling station at one time which will mean there are likely to be queues at times.

“We hope everyone will understand that these actions are necessary to ensure the safety of voters and staff.”

Polling stations will shut at 10pm.

The votes in the District and Town Council elections will take place on two sites on Saturday.

Vote counting for the Keighley and Shipley Constituencies take place at Keighley Leisure Centre, while the votes for the three Bradford Constituencies will take place ad Sedbergh Leisure Centre.

It is the first time the new leisure centre has hosted a count.

The West Yorkshire Mayor election count takes place at Leeds Arena on Sunday.