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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Postal vote success hailed
Postbox
Voters were given a pre-paid envelope for ballot papers

More people are set to vote in Newcastle's local elections - after the council decided not to open polling stations.

Instead every one of the city's electors were given postal ballot papers to post their votes.

More than a third of the electorate has already made their choice in this year's local elections and the city is heading for its highest turnout since 1979.

With two days to go to polling day, a total of 71,057 votes have been received.

This is already a turnout of 38.46%, the highest since 1995 - and voting does not close until 1700 BST on Thursday.

Officials are hoping for a turnout of 50%, which would be the best since 1979 when local elections were held on the same day as the General Election.

Chief executive Ian Stratford said: "I think this proves beyond all doubt that postal voting is very popular among the public for its simplicity and convenience."

Public buildings

People are urged to post their votes immediately to guarantee they reach the Civic Centre in time for counting on Thursday night.

Every registered elector in Newcastle has been sent a postal ballot paper between, which must be returned to the Civic Centre by 1700 BST on polling day, Thursday 1st May.

There are no polling stations anywhere in the city but there are certain public buildings where people can hand in their postal vote during their normal opening hours, including on Thursday, 1 May.

One council seat will be up for election in each of the 26 Wards in the city.





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