Election error could lead to Kenilworth voting confusion

Hundreds of votes may be lost after replacement postal ballots had not arrived on doormats across Abbey Ward just a week before polling day.

Elections. Picture: Malcolm Wells
Elections. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Last week, a party logo error forced Warwick District Council to void all district council election postal votes already cast in Abbey Ward and distribute new ballot cards to 1,090 voters.

But with many cards still not received by early on Thursday morning, worry spread over whether votes would be cast in time.

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All cards for the district council vote in the ward were reissued after the Labour Party logo was printed alongside a Liberal Democrat candidate.

John Cooke, chairman of the town Conservative Party said despite assurances that replacement cards will come through letter boxes by Friday, with many people away or unaware their first vote was cancelled, there may be problems.

“All parties are worried about this as people may not have chance to return their votes in time,” he said. “There is also the question of, if people go away, will they be aware there is a second vote to be made in a matter of days?”

All postal votes must be received by the council by 10pm on Thursday. Cards can be handed at any Abbey polling station, posted, or delivered to the council offices.

There is also fear of confusion over which papers can be used as the error does not affect the Parliamentary or town council ballot cards.

Lib Dem election agent John Whitehouse said though some cards were beginning to be delivered, any disadvantage was at least fair to all parties in what is one of the most contested wards in the district.

“Replacement voting cards were sent out last week, so we solved one problem but caused another,” he said.

“It is a bit of a worry and an issue which has been raised on the doorstep but any delay will affect every party in the same way, rather than the previous error which left the Lib Dem candidate at a disadvantage.”

It is believed that the cards did not arrive with the town sorting office staff until Tuesday night, with deliveries starting the next day.

A council statement said: “Further to the error to postal ballot papers issued to the residents of Abbey Ward, new lilac coloured ballot papers were given to the Royal Mail on Monday April 27 to be sent by first class mail.

“If any resident has not received their postal vote, they can telephone 01926 456107 to request replacement ballot papers. Replacement ballot papers can be reissued up until 5pm on May 7.”