Is Sunderland in the running to declare first in the 2019 General Election?
You can usually count on thing on an unpredictable General Election night – namely that Sunderland will be among the leading candidates to declare the first result.
The city’s Houghton and Sunderland South constituency and its Sunderland South predecessor was the first seat to be officially confirmed for six successive nationwide polls from 1992 to 2015.
Yet it lost out in 2017’s snap election by around seven minutes when Newcastle Central took the honour.
With December 12’s vote just over a month away, officials at Sunderland City Council are playing down the significance of any race.
Patrick Melia, the city’s acting returning officer, said: "As usual, Sunderland will be looking to run an accurate and efficient count that the electorate and candidates can all have confidence in."It isn’t about declaring first, it is about delivering an efficient and organised count.
“Our early declarations are because of meticulous planning and processes executed by a great team who are extremely well organised."
Around 240 people were involved in the counting process at Sunderland’s election count two years ago with sixth form pupils used to deliver boxes of votes to their tables.
The count for Sunderland's three Parliamentary constituencies, Houghton and Sunderland South, Sunderland Central, and Washington and Sunderland West, is again at Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre.
This is where the previous three General Election counts were held as well as recent city council, European Parliament and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioners counts and declarations.
Anyone not yet registered to vote has until Tuesday, November 26, to do so and until 5pm on the same day to apply for a postal vote.
There are so far 204,209 people on Sunderland's register and 85,601 of them have registered for a postal vote.
Mr Melia said: "I would encourage everyone in Sunderland to take action now if they’ve not already registered to vote.
“It’s quick and easy to register, but after the deadline of Tuesday, November 26, it will be too late.”
Anyone who has not yet registered to vote should contact the council's electoral services team immediately on (0191) 5205550.You can also register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.