Councillor Denis Healy has raised his concerns with regard to the delay in sending out postal votes to East Riding Residents.
Cllr Healy says the delay means some voters will miss out on taking part in the election which takes place on 2 May.
Postal voters were due to get their ballot papers on 15 April however some people have still not received their voting slips over 8 days later.
In a letter to Caroline Lacey, the Returning Officer at East Riding of Yorkshire Council Mr Healy said;
The postal vote despatch didn’t happen on Monday 15 April, and by Thursday 18 April, just before the start of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, postal votes hadn’t arrived with residents.
This prompted many calls from residents, who were leaving for a fortnight’s holiday over the Easter weekend and not planning to return until after Polling Day, which by this point was less than two weeks away.”
These residents knew that they would be unable to exercise their vote, as their ballots hadn’t been received by the date of their planned holidays.
I expressed my concerns to Electoral Services on the afternoon of Thursday 18 April, and Matthew Buckley kindly called me to explain the situation.
Postal Votes Issue Raised With Council
Matthew said that the despatch of the ballot papers had been outsourced to a company In Leeds and said that this company was responsible for the delay, and that that it had failed to meet the Council’s postal vote timetable for the despatch of ballot papers.
He also confirmed that whilst a small number of ballots had been despatched on Wednesday 17 April, the main first wave was being despatched that day, Thursday 18 April. However, as we were about to enter a Bank Holiday weekend, he confirmed that these votes wouldn’t start to arrive with residents until Saturday 20 April at the earliest.
Although a significant number of residents did receive their postal ballots on Saturday 20 April, many others did not, and as Monday 22 April was a Bank Holiday, they knew that they would not be receiving anything until today, Tuesday 23 April, at the earliest.
It appears that more postal ballots have been received today, just 9 days before Polling Day, although whether there are more still to be received is unclear.
I find this to be a very unacceptable situation. People across the East Riding have been unable to participate in the democratic process because of a failure by the Council to meet its own deadlines for the despatch of postal votes.
Postal Votes Were A Concern Raised In Run Up To Elections
Ahead of the election, some candidates had already hinted that the ‘Postal Votes’ was something to keep an eye on. Previous elections have seen the postal votes not issued on the day stipulated with some suggesting foul play.
As a result of the delay in the postal votes being sent out some fear voters will be unable to take part in the election. Already some voters have said that this fiasco means their voice will not be heard as they will be away on holiday.
Residents in the East Riding will go to the polls on the 2 May. Voting in the local elections is an ideal time to make a protest vote. There are also other things voters to should look for and consider when electing councillors in the election.