It's all systems go for the electronic counting of votes in the South Tyneside Council elections on Thursday May 2nd.
The election team at South Tyneside Council has had a full demonstration of the electronic high-speed ballot counting machine which will be used at the two count centres.
Election candidates, agents, councillors and officers watched the demonstration by specialist contractors Election Systems and Software. The machine automatically scans the ballot paper and counts, retains votes to produce a complete ward by ward election results report.
The machine can process ballot papers at 400 per minute. The scanner reads the voter's choice and checks for irregularities. Any ballot papers rejected by the machine will be independently adjudicated by the Returning Officer.
There will be three electronic counting machines at each of the counting centres. Temple Park Centre is the venue for the count of the 11 wards in the South Shields constituency, and Jarrow Community Centre is the venue for the nine wards in the Jarrow constituency.
South Tyneside is one of only four Councils in the country to count votes electronically, and is one of 30 taking part in the all postal voting experiment to encourage more people to vote in elections.
All 115,384 registered voters have received their ballot paper for the elections in all 20 wards being contested. Using the secure double envelope voting system, each ballot paper has a unique number and bar code.
The last recommended date for returning postal votes is Tuesday April 30th. Votes can also be accepted at one of six Council office locations (South Shields Town Hall, Jarrow Town Hall, Hebburn Civic Centre, Horsley Hill Housing Office and East Boldon Library).
The last time for postal votes to be accepted is 5.00pm on THURSDAY MAY 2ND.