Voters are being urged to consider using a postal or proxy vote for the General Election on Thursday December 12th, to beat any additional access difficulties which could be created by weather conditions.

Details were published of the candidates, agents and polling places for the General Election by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s election office on Friday (November 15th).

Four candidates are standing for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar parliamentary constituency. They are Alison MacCorquodale for the Scottish Labour Party, Angus Brendan MacNeil for the Scottish National Party, Neil Mitchison for the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Jennifer Ross for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

There will be 47 polling stations, with just four changes to the places used in the previous election, which was the European Election in May this year.

In Tarbert voting has reverted to the community hall, as used in previous elections, instead of Tarbert Council Offices.

The polling station in Balallan has moved from the community hall into the newly renovated Old School building. Back will see the Free Church hall used as a polling station, instead of the community hut and in Bragar the meeting house will be used once again, as for the European election, since Grinneabhat community building is still under renovation.

Depute electoral officer Derek Mackay told welovestornoway.com that the changes ensured better access to all polling stations, with more parking and better lighting at the selected buildings.

He said: “We are looking at everything we can do to make voting as accessible for everyone as possible, especially given the time of year. It is close to the shortest day of the year, so there will not be many daylight hours to vote and there may also be weather challenges.”

For that reason the election office are evaluating arrangements for gritting around polling stations, but there’s also a general message that everyone is entitled to use a postal vote, and could use that option if they have concerns that weather conditions might make it hard or impossible to vote in person.

Anyone can vote by post. You can apply for a postal vote for a particular election, for a set period of time or for all future elections. To apply for a postal vote you should contact the Electoral Registration Officer or you can download a postal vote application here (https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/media/14485/application-to-vote-by-post.pdf).

Applications to vote by post, or to cancel or alter existing postal votes/proxy votes must reach the Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on Tuesday 26th November.

You can also apply to vote by proxy, which means nominating someone else to place a vote on your behalf, but you have to give a valid reason for this – such as that you are going to be away on holiday or that you have a physical condition that prevents you from getting to the polling place.

New applications to vote by proxy must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 4th December, although emergency proxy applications – for example if someone is taken into hospital – can be made up to 5pm on the day of the General Election itself.

Full details about registering to vote and all postal and proxy arrangements can be found at https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/your-council/elections-and-voting/uk-parliamentary-general-election-2019/how-do-i-vote/