Councils warn on campaign group mailings
Published on 4th April 2011
Residents across Gloucestershire are being warned that a campaign mailing on the forthcoming Alternative Vote referendum is not being sent out from their local council.
Tewkesbury Borough, Stroud, Cotswold, Cheltenham Borough, Gloucester City and Forest of Dean councils are joining forces to stress that a mailing from the campaign for the 'Yes' vote is not from them and no council endorses any referendum campaign material.
The poster and application form, which has been sent to a huge number of residents across the county, provides the local council's address, which may suggest that the councils are behind the letter.
Tewkesbury Borough Council's Returning Officer, Sara Freckleton said: "We want to make it clear to our residents that we have not issued any campaign mailing and we are not providing support to the 'Yes' or the 'No' campaigns.
"The poster and application form is causing confusion among residents who are mistakenly thinking we have issued the publicity. It is also causing confusion for those voters who have already registered for a postal vote with us as it looks like we are asking them to do it again."
The mailing causes further confusion as it only offers the chance to register for a postal vote for the referendum - and not the local elections, which are taking place on the same day (apart from in Cheltenham Borough*).
Each council is therefore urging voters to check they are registered to have their say in the local district and parish elections and the first UK-wide referendum in over 30 years on Thursday, 5 May.
The Electoral Commission, who is responsible for the organisation of the AV Referendum, is aware of the campaign and has advised all Local Authorities that the forms comply with legislation and, provided they are completed correctly and within the required timescale, they are acceptable.
Electors on the register who wish to vote by post or appoint a proxy will need to apply before the following dates:
Postal voting applications 5pm on 14 April 2011
Proxy voting applications 5pm on 21 April 2011
* Please note: Cheltenham Borough is not running local elections this year.