Postal voting is a quick, easy and convenient way of voting in Council elections and South Tyneside residents can now apply to vote this way by marking the box on the new registration forms.
The Electoral Registration forms have just been delivered to every home in the Borough. As well as making sure that all eligible people are registered to vote, the form also offers the option of free postal voting. There are also cash prizes for two lucky people who have returned their forms by Friday (22nd August).
Councillor John Temple, Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Democratic Renewal says: "For the last two years we have had full postal voting in South Tyneside because we were selected by the Government to pilot new methods of voting. This was a tremendous success and doubled the number of votes cast compared to the traditional polling booths. It's a fact that people living in the Borough found it much easier and more convenient to post their vote and anything that encourages people to have their say on local democracy must be worthwhile."
He adds: "However we haven't been informed if South Tyneside will be chosen again next year so if you want to be sure of a postal vote you should put a cross in the box next to your name and a form will be sent out. When this is completed and returned to us your ballot papers will be sent out at election time. It couldn't be simpler and it guarantees you a postal vote no matter how the election is run."
The new Register of Electors will be used from 1st December 2003 this year until 30th November 2004. For the first time this year households where details have not changed will be able to tell staff over the phone. The phone number (0800 081 0177) is on every registration form and it is free.
Everyone who replies by Friday will be entered into a prize draw and two lucky people will win a first prize of £300 and a second prize of £150.
Next year's election is likely to be a month later on 10th June 2004 because the Government wants to combine local elections with the elections to the European Parliament.
Anyone who is not on the Register of Electors will not be able to vote. Another important reason to be on the Register is that many organisations and companies use the Register of Electors as proof of residence. For more information contact the Electoral Registration Office: Tel. 424 7250 or 424 7251.