September 21 2014 Latest news:
Sam Blewett, Reporter
Friday, May 2, 2014
A councillor who has been unable to off-load 1,500 self-branded pencils in the run-up to the last two local elections has been left asking the question “will I ever get rid them?”
Independent Residents’ Group (IRG) leader Cllr Jeff Tucker, who represents the Rainham and Wennington ward, first tried to give them out to local school children four years ago - but was told he couldn’t by officials as it was considered “advertising”.
Now his latest plan hand out the rubber-tipped pencils to voters in order to rub “mistakes” in their ballot papers has been scuppered by the Electoral Commission which says it may invalidate votes.
“They were to be Christmas gifts but it was also a form of advertising so I wasn’t able to give them out but I would love to make good use of them,” said Cllr Tucker.
He then wanted to “give them to everybody who wants to vote on May 22 - there’s a rubber on the other side so they can rub it out if they make a mistake” - against commission advice.
A spokesman from the commission said: “Pencils will already be provided inside the polling booth as local returning officers have a legal responsibility to provide materials to enable voters to mark their ballot papers.
“If a voter thinks they have mistakenly marked their ballot paper, they should not use a rubber to correct their mistake. Instead, they should clearly cross out their ‘X’ and place a new ‘X’ on the ballot paper.”
The pencils read “with compliments of Cllr Jeffrey Tucker” on them.
Anybody who wants one of the pencils should visit the councillor at Rainham Goldmine Jewellers, in Upminster Road South, Rainham.
“I’m prepared to give them out free if they come to the shop,” he said.
Cllr Tucker has a great deal of branded merchandise, including “pens, pencils, calculator-rulers - that’s a ruler with a calculator on it.”
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