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Council Staff Hand Deliver Postal Votes

With only two days to go to Council Election Day ( Thursday) staff at South Shields Town Hall are working overtime to ensure that all voters in South Tyneside have a Ballot Paper pack.

Delivery problems have been identified in the Horsley Hill and West Park Wards where some voters have not yet received the packs which were sent out by first class post more than a week ago.

People have been calling the special postal election helpline to report non-delivery and staff are now hand-delivering replacement ballot packs so that everyone gets the opportunity to vote by 5pm on Thursday (May 2nd).

Chris Bradley, the Council's Returning Officer stresses the importance of people ringing the helpline number 0800 093 2660 if they have not received their pack.

"I am aware that there have been some delivery problems but I want to assure voters that we are doing everything possible to help people. Staff here are working overtime to respond to requests and replacement packs are being hand-delivered to homes. On Thursday evening my own personal secretary delivered some packs to a family who rang in because they were going on holiday the next day and wanted to get their votes in on time."

However Mr Bradley is warning anyone against attempting to fraudulently obtain another vote. He says the computerised system will immediately pick it up and that person will be reported to the police.

The last recommended day for returning postal votes is today (TUESDAY), but votes can still be accepted during normal opening hours at South Shields Town Hall, Jarrow Town Hall, Hebburn Civic Centre, Horsley Hill Housing Office, Landreth House and East Boldon Library.

This is the first year South Tyneside Council has conducted an all postal election and despite these delivery problems, it is already proving to be a success with over 45% of the electorate already having voted compared to an overall turnout of only 26.8% at the last local election.

South Tyneside is one of only four Councils where an all-postal voting system and electronic counting of votes has been introduced as part of a Government pilot to encourage greater participation in elections.

The last time for votes to be accepted is 5.00 p.m. on THURSDAY MAY 2ND


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