DARLINGTON Council has issued an apology after hundreds of postal voters were found to have been sent two votes each.
The alarm was raised after confused residents contacted the council to report receiving duplicate postal vote packs, with an investigation so far highlighting at least 370 separate incidents.
With ‘Super Thursday’ just days away, the council’s election officials are scrambling to rectify the issue and establish why the third party printing company employed to send out the packs could possibly have made such a dangerous blunder.
A spokesperson from Darlington Council said:
“This group of voters are from all parts of the borough, what they appear to have in common is the period when they registered for a postal vote. It looks like the printers sent out duplicate postal voting packs by mistake.
“We are writing to the 370 voters to advise them of the problem.
“As with most local authorities in the region election materials are printed by an external company with experience in producing election material. This includes the production and despatch of postal vote packs to voters.
“We have been liaising with the printers to clarify what has gone wrong and will be seeking to work with the printers on this.”
The council did not explain what process was carried out to determine how many postal votes the incident concerns, nor if any other postal votes might be affected.
The spokesperson has also urged residents to return duplicate packs ‘so we can follow this up’.
“Please can you let us know if you have received the duplicate pack, so we can follow this up. It would be helpful if you can send the duplicate back to the Town Hall – in an envelope marked Duplicate PV” they said.
“If you have received a duplicate postal vote, you must not use it to vote more than once in the same election. It is an offence to vote more than once at the same election. We have measures in place to detect if anyone tries to vote more than once.”
VoteWatch has contacted Darlington council for further comment.