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Last Chance To Log On To Stratford

People living in south Warwickshire are being offered the chance to select the people to run a £30m local business employing 350 staff, but with no fears of a stock market crash.

And they are being invited to step into the electronic age by using the latest technology to make their decisions.

It might sound unlikely to some, but 63,000 people are being given the chance to do this when they elect their local councillors on May 4.

Stratford District Council is the only authority in the country to be experimenting with electronic voting in this year’s poll.

And voters have got one more chance to have a look at the equipment before they vote for real next week.

One of the machines has been touring shops and organisations in the district to show the electorate how it works.

The last chance to try one of the machines at a roadshow will be on Saturday 29 April, at Marks and Spencer in Stratford, between 12pm and 2pm.

A machine is also on permanent demonstration up until the elections in the reception area at the district council headquarters in Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Returning Officer Ian Prosser said:

"With the council spending millions of pounds each year on services to its residents, it is somewhat surprising that on average less than 40 per cent turn out at election time.

"We are hoping that this year the turnout will improve, as this district is part of a pilot project to introduce new technology and look at ways of improving turnout at elections, perhaps even using the internet in a few years time.

"Stratford-on-Avon District Council is pioneering a new system of voting and counting, using electronic polling booths under a pilot study by the Home Office.

“The system is very simple to use and the feedback we have had from nearly 30 roadshows demonstrating it around our district has been very positive.

"One of the surprising things is how easy the district's elderly residents have found the new system, so I hope that everyone, young and not to so young, who is entitled to vote will exercise their right to do so on 4 May and help decide who runs the council."

Although electronic voting and counting has been used for many years in some European countries, Stratford is the only council in the UK to be trying out the system for all of its elections this year, before a decision is made by the government on whether it should be introduced everywhere.

Local elections are being held for 18 of the district council's 55 seats, and in 10 parishes. The current political make-up of Stratford-on-Avon District Council is 24 Conservative seats, 20 Liberal Democrat, 7 Independent and 4 Labour.
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CWN / Politics / Stratford on Avon District Council / 27 Apr 00

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