Dismay over missing postal vote

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Copy of an open letter to Cllr Carl Maynard on missing postal votes in the general and council elections:

I am writing to complain that my postal vote for the general election and district council election never arrived.

I had requested this when the general election was called at the end of March because I was due to go on holiday May 2-9.

I received a letter from the Electoral Services Manager dated 1.4.15 confirming that my application had been allowed, and that “the postal votes are scheduled to be despatched on 22 April 2015”.

My voting papers never did arrive and after a number of email exchanges with the council, I had no alternative but to go to Bexhill Town Hall on May 1 – the day before I went on holiday - where the papers were produced for me.

While waiting at reception, I noted that there was a steady trickle of other people in the same position.

A report on p.9 of the Bexhill Observer on 8.5.15 seems to validate this perception.

Even by the council’s own tardy timescales, the papers should have arrived by then, but now, at the time of writing, three days after the elections, have NOT arrived at this address.

A number of points therefore arise from this situation:

1. Why were voting packs not due to be despatched until April 22, and in fact were delayed still further?

This was no good for people due to be away at the time of the elections.

Other local authorities had their postal votes despatched on or before April 15.

Why was Rother different?

2. I should be grateful if you could confirm formally whether or not voting papers were ever actually sent to me, and on what date? If not, why not?

3. If the papers were despatched, on or around April 24, as claimed, why did they never arrive?

Further questions arise from (3): If the postal vote pack was sent out to me, have the numbered ballot papers been returned

i.e. has my vote been stolen?

How many others have experienced the same i.e. the council has asserted that it has despatched their voting papers, but these have never arrived?

Have any of these been checked for fraudulent returns?

What other enquiries are being undertaken by the council, and when will the results of these be known?

Will this matter potentially be referred to Sussex Police?

This is a serious matter, and I cannot simply let it pass unchallenged on the basis that I was ultimately able to cast my vote. It is also disingenuous to blame the Royal Mail, but I am also sending you this letter by email to be doubly sure it reaches you.

The potential for voting fraud is obvious, and indeed has become a headline issue in some parts of the country.

At the very least it is unacceptable that what appears to be a sizeable number of voting papers have gone astray without adequate explanation, and may never have reached their intended recipients, thereby depriving them of their right to vote.

I look forward to your response.

RICHARD MADGE

College Road