Concern over poll card info

close up of hand and voting ballot
close up of hand and voting ballot

CONCERNS have been raised ahead of next week’s mayoral referendum about the wording on the polling card sent to residents.

Hartlepool resident Steven Youll spoke out after receiving his poll card which he says does not make clear that the referendum is taking place.

Council chiefs say the wording is set in Government legislation and say they have been “very pro-active” in raising awareness of the referendum.

The mayoral referendum will ask voters whether they want to keep the current system of an elected mayor and cabinet, or opt for a system of committees made up of elected councillors.

People have the chance to have their say on Thursday, November 15, the same day as the Police Crime Commissioner election.

But dad-of-two Mr Youll said people could easily be confused and think it is just the Police & Crime Commissioner vote taking place because of the wording.

The poll card reads: “Voting on Thursday 15 November 2012.

“Further referendum on governance arrangements and election of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Police area.”

There is no explicit mention of a mayoral referendum taking place in town.

Mr Youll, 53, said: “The polling card should say in plain English that Hartlepool is having a mayoral referendum.

“I read it and I couldn’t believe that it had been worded like that.

“Everybody that has a polling card won’t see the options unless they go to the polling booth on Thursday.

“The referendum is taking place on Thursday and that should not be lost.”

Mr Youll, who is married to Diane Youll, lives in the Ward Jackson Park area.

A council spokesman said: “The wording on the polling card for the Police and Crime Commissioner election and the Referendum follows that prescribed in Government legislation.

“The council has also been very pro-active recently to raise awareness of the election and the Referendum.

“This has included the publication of the required statutory notice for both the election and the Referendum, detailed information in the community magazine Hartbeat, lots of coverage in the Hartlepool Mail, a six-week advertising campaign on local radio, posters, and the use of the council’s website and social media.”

Polling stations will be open across town between 7am and 10pm, with the results announced after the count at the Mill House Leisure Centre, in Raby Road.