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Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Voters ignore poll delay
Voting
People keen to cast their vote will have to wait
Elections due on Thursday may have been postponed a month ago in a blaze of publicity but people have still been turning out to vote.

Officials at South Oxfordshire District Council say buildings used as polling stations have been visited by local people puzzled at the lack of activity.


We have had to be apologetic because sometimes they can be irate

Council official
The council has been forced to launch urgent media appeals reminding people of the postponement.

Thursday was the scheduled date for many local council elections and most pundits had predicted the general election would be held the same day.

But Tony Blair announced a delay until Thursday 7 June for the local elections after the scale of the foot-and-mouth crisis emerged early in April.

The prime minister is expected to announce next week that this will also be the date for the general election. He can choose the date of the national poll for any time within the next year.

Steven Lake, deputy returning officer with South Oxfordshire Council, said: "A few people have been turning up at polling stations thinking the elections are still on.

"There is some confusion: some people thought that the general election had been called off, not realising it was not on in the first place."

He said they had missed the fact that it was only local elections that were officially scheduled for 3 May.

"We have had to be apologetic because sometimes they can be irate, thinking we should have written to them and told them."

He said poll cards had been sent out for the 3 May council elections but the council had assumed everyone would realise they had been postponed.

Sending letters out to tell voters would have cost the council at least 27,000, Mr Lake added.


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