YET another mysterious ‘printing error’ has left British citizens without postal votes, with Durham Council only informing locals of the error a day before the election.
VoteWatch has been contacted by a number of outraged residents, after letters sent by the council to alert them of the blunder were only received yesterday.
Speaking to VoteWatch, one concerned resident who only received a letter from the Council yesterday, said: “Only the Tories, independents, and Lib Dems have been chasing the council, while Labour have been quiet. It seems the risk is that some wont receive postal ballots at all, and others potentially could receive duplicates.
Letters have also been sent to candidates and agents – once again at the last hour.
“The lack of a postal vote was raised in other wards but DCC were slow to react. Labour today raised concerns that they are going to lose control of Sunderland and Durham, so I don’t think it is a coincidence that there was a mess up.”
Officials from Durham council did not elaborate on what caused the error, nor if other wards could be affected – but are now scrambling to get votes to those who have complained; even embarrassingly delivering some ballots by hand.
Meanwhile, many voters still remain without ballot papers, and disabled residents potentially face having no voice in today’s vote due to being unable to travel to their local polling station.
North Durham MP Kevan Jones said: “It is widespread, and they acknowledge it has happened.
“As I understand it, it is a printing error.
“They have gone out but they have missed certain blocks in wards.
“That is what has happened.
“I urge anyone who has not received a postal vote as a matter of urgency to contact the council.
“If you have got one what you can do is fill it in and drop it off at the polling station until the close of the poll.”
At least one other city has experienced a similar printing issue during the 2021 local elections.
Last week, the alarm was raised in Darlington, after residents had received two postal votes, despite it being illegal to vote twice in any election.
Confused residents contacted the council to report receiving duplicate postal vote packs, with an investigation so far highlighting at least 370 separate incidents.
VoteWatch has contacted both councils for further comment.