With another seven days still to go in the all-postal voting elections in South Tyneside more than 40,000 ballot papers have been returned putting the percentage of votes cast at over 34 per cent.
The 34 per cent return after the first week of the voting experiment is already higher than the average overall turnout at previous Council elections in recent years, and election officials expect the figures to rise even higher.
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 Electoral Commission is closely monitoring the postal voting system. It has already attracted regional and national TV coverage as well as other media coverage. It is being extensively promoted locally with a major advertising campaign.
All 115,384, registered voters in the 20 wards being contested on Polling Day THURSDAY MAY 2nd should have received their ballot papers.
Anyone who has not yet received a postal voting pack or needs any help with postal voting should contact the ELECTION HOTLINE TEL 0800 093 2660.
The last recommended day for returning postal votes is TUESDAY APRIL 30th. Votes can also 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.
The last time for votes to be accepted is 5.00 p.m. on THURSDAY MAY 2ND
All incoming ballot papers are being sorted daily. Postal voting uses a secure double envelope system. Voters have to sign a Declaration of Identity and place it in a pre-paid return envelope with their ballot paper enclosed in a separate voting envelope.