Town hall chief says Newham 'doing everything it can' to ensure polling is 'safe and fair'

Althea Loderick

Althea Loderick is the council’s chief executive and head of paid service. - Credit: LBN

The council's top boss has said the authority is doing everything it can to stage a "safe and fair" election.

Althea Loderick, who is chief executive officer at Newham Council, was speaking before voters go to the polls on May 6.

Ms Loderick, at a council meeting on Monday, April 19, said: "I would ask all of us to show patience when voting and waiting for the results as we are doing everything we can to deliver a safe and fair election."

Elections are being held for the next mayor of London and London Assembly members.

A by-election is also being held to select a third councillor to represent East Ham Central ward and there is a referendum on how Newham is governed.

Ms Loderick told councillors and residents: "The challenge in holding these elections is like no other in our memory.

"Due to the impact of the pandemic, we have three polls combined on the same day and the added but necessary imposition of public health measures on how we are able to provide access to polling stations.

"We are also very conscious that the steps taken do not compromise the importance of residents being able to vote freely and campaigns and parties being able to encourage the electorate to vote and having the necessary oversight of the process."

The ExCel Centre

The ExCel London exhibition centre will host the counts on May 8. - Credit: Ken Mears

Vote counting is due to start at the ExCeL London exhibition centre on May 8.

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Polling stations have been assessed to ensure they are Covid safe, Ms Loderick said, with voters encouraged to avoid morning and early evening peak times and parents urged not to bring their children.

Anyone inside polling stations will be required to wear masks. However, the council will not stop someone voting if they do not have a face covering.

Ms Loderick said Newham has encouraged people who feel safer at home to apply to vote by post.

Postal votes for the GLA and mayoral polls have been sent out, but referendum and by-election ballot papers are due to go out this week.

Deadlines to register to vote in person or by post have passed. In total, 223,400 people are registered to vote in Newham. 

At the count, Ms Loderick said the number of observers per campaign is unlikely to be higher than 10.

City Hall is not allowing guests into the count; Newham is likely to do the same.