A SENIOR South Tyneside councillor is hunting down ‘missing’ voters on the campaign trail.
Labour’s Coun Jim Foreman is hoping to be re-elected as a ward representative for Cleadon Park in South Shields at the local elections on Thursday, May 22.
But he has been alarmed at the number of the electorate, particularly living in the estate’s new homes, that have not yet registered to vote.
Now he’s planning to rectify that by dropping off election registration forms at all 131 properties identified as ‘no voters’ on the council’s electoral register.
That includes all nine homes in the recently completed Acacia Gardens cul-de-sac, 10 properties in Cherry Tree Walk, completed about six months ago, and 11 non-voters in Maple Court, built last year. Additionally, 21 properties in long-established areas such as Sutton Way, The Ridgeway and Quarry Lane also remain unregistered.
Coun Foreman, the council’s lead member for housing and transport, believes residents are missing out on their “democratic right” to help shape the future of the ward.
He said: “This week I intend to visit all 131 properties which are not registered to hand out a letter asking voters to register, together with registration forms which enable them to do so by the cut-off date, which is May 7.
“I perfectly understand that many of these tenants have only recently moved into the properties and that it has been a stressful time for them. Perhaps registering to vote is not a top priority for them at this time.
“But by not registering they are missing an opportunity to shape the future of the area in which they live, no matter who they vote for.
“There are 131 properties not registered and there will be, at a conservative estimate, at least two people in each property.
“That’s 262 votes which could make a difference to the outcome of the poll.
“I wonder across the whole of the borough how many properties are also classed as ‘no electors’.
“It’s likely to be a significant number. I’d call on them all to register and have their say.”
People can register to vote by text, online, by telephone and by post.
To find out if you are registered to vote, call 427 7000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominations for all borough election candidates are to close this Thursday at 4pm.
It is known that independent June Elsom has also thrown her hat into the ring as a candidate in Cleadon Park.