This guidance applies to all election campaigning in Wales.
This guidance, issued under regulation 18A of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020, applies in Wales from 12 April 2021. It applies to all election campaigning including for the Senedd general election and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections which are scheduled for 6 May as well as local government by-elections taking place up to 6 May.
Those in charge of campaigns must ensure that campaigners are aware of this guidance, and of their responsibilities to minimise the risk of exposure to, or spread of, coronavirus.
People undertaking election campaigning activities (“campaigners”) are allowed to deliver leaflets to private homes.
Collection of printed materials by campaigners should be organised on a one by one basis. Handling of materials should be minimised.
The number of campaigners operating together should be kept to an absolute minimum and should not exceed 6 people in total. Campaigners who do not live together should keep 2m apart from each other and other people not in their household or support bubble at all times.
Campaigners should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times, including on the use of face coverings, and hand hygiene.
Canvassing (knocking on doors)
Campaigners are allowed to canvass electors. Campaigners who are canvassing are required to take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of exposure to, or spread of, coronavirus, and to have regard to this guidance, under regulation 18A of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020.
The number of campaigners canvassing together must be kept to an absolute minimum and should not exceed 6 people in total. Campaigners who do not live together must keep 2m apart from each other and other people not in their household or support bubble at all times.
Only one campaigner at a time should speak to electors on their doorsteps but they should not go inside and should maintain at least 2 metres distance and wear a face covering (unless exempt) at all times. Other campaigners should wait away from the doorstep.
Campaigners should only enter premises, such as a shared hallway in a block of flats, where absolutely necessary to reach individual homes served by communal areas.
In these circumstances, campaigners should consider carefully how best to:
- ensure their own safety (e.g. with 2 people entering the overall premises and keeping within sight of each other); and also
- operate in a way that minimises the risk of transmission of the virus (e.g. only one person approaching a door to an individual home / flat, and campaigners who do not live together, and are not in the same support bubble, keeping 2m apart from each other and wearing face coverings, unless exempt).
Campaigners should prioritise their own security in addition to public health, for example by keeping within sight of each other, while maintaining 2m distance.
Campaigners are allowed to install / erect stakeboards. Permission must have been provided from the landowner involved and campaigners should check with their party office for details on how permission is sought.
Collection of stakeboards should be organised on a one campaigner by one campaigner basis. Handling of materials should be minimised. The number of campaigners operating together should be kept to an absolute minimum and should not exceed 6 people in total. Campaigners who do not live together should, where practically possible, keep 2m apart from each other and other people not in their household or support bubble at all times.
Campaigners should follow the guidance on how to minimise the risk of exposure to, or spread of, coronavirus at all times, including on the use of face coverings, and hand hygiene.
People are generally not permitted to meet indoors, other than with their household or support bubble. Therefore Hustings and public meetings, as well as planning meetings, should take place remotely. Street stalls, and outdoor meetings of more than 6 people, are not permitted as there are reasonably practicable alternatives.
Party leaders, candidates and agents
Candidates and agents are permitted to travel to and around their constituency/region as necessary – as this is work or volunteering which cannot be done from home. Similarly, party leaders and key party figures, accompanied by the minimal number necessary of supporting staff, can travel between constituencies and regions.
Party leaders and key party figures may be transported in a car driven by a person not in their household or support bubble. Face coverings should be worn (unless exemptions apply), good ventilation should be maintained and consideration should be given to the passenger sitting in the rear left seat to maximise the space between them and the driver.
Travel between Wales and England is permitted but campaigners must ensure they follow the rules applicable in the relevant part of England or Wales.
Apart from in the circumstances described above, campaigners should avoid travelling in a car with anyone beyond their household or support bubble. This includes transporting electors to polling stations.
Collection of postal ballots
The Electoral Commission code of conduct states that campaigners should never handle or take any completed ballot paper or postal ballot packs from voters.
The code also states:
“Wherever practical, you should encourage voters to post or deliver the completed postal ballot pack themselves. If you are approached or asked for help by a voter who is unable to post their completed postal ballot pack or make any other arrangements for it to be returned in time, you should contact the Returning Officer to ask them to arrange for it to be collected. The Returning Officer may agree that it would be in the voter’s best interest for you to deliver the completed postal ballot pack to the relevant office or polling station, if there are no feasible alternative options.”
Behaviour at polling stations
Tellers at polling stations must following the instructions of Returning Officers at all times. This may include remaining in a designated location. Tellers must not enter polling stations, except to vote. Voters may feel particularly intimidated if approached by tellers owing to general concerns about close contact with others during the Coronavirus pandemic. Tellers must be sensitive to this issue and must keep 2m apart from other people not in their household or support bubble at all times.
Updates to this guidance
This guidance will be updated in light of any changes required as a result of reviews of the coronavirus restrictions.
Additional guidance about elections
Additional guidance on elections, covering issues around attending polling stations and how to vote is also available here: Elections: coronavirus guidance.