THE drive is on to encourage more people to vote in next month's South Tyneside Council elections.

The council is launching a press and publicity campaign on Monday calling on borough folk to ensure their vote is counted in 2004's local elections.

Electors will get their ballot papers in the post and will simply have to send them back via the postal service by Thursday, June 10.

The voting packs are being delivered to households across South Tyneside from Wednesday, May 26.

Each pack contains a postal ballot form, detailed instructions on how to complete it and a FREEPOST return envelope.

Votes can be returned at any time from receipt of the ballot papers up until 10pm on polling day on June 10.

Any eligible voter who has not received a pack by Tuesday, June 1, should contact the election office helpline on 427 7000. Full details are available on the council's website at

There will be no traditional polling stations although ballot boxes will be located at South Shields Town Hall, Horsley Hill Housing Office, Landreth House Housing Office, Jarrow Town Hall, Hebburn Civic Centre and Asda Boldon.

The council has worked with local people and the Boundary Commission to realign wards in South Tyneside. This year there will be 18 instead of 20 wards and the number of councillors will be reduced from 60 to 54.

Rekendyke and All Saints wards will disappear and three other wards will have new names, Simonside and Rekendyke, Biddick and All Saints and Hebburn North.