Missing postal ballots in Midlothian

Tuesday May 21st 2019

Ballot Box

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Dozens of people who registered to vote by post in this week’s European elections in Midlothian will have to travel to a polling station after they were left without papers.

Midlothian Council workers have been hand delivering replacement packs to local residents today in a last-minute effort to ensure everyone has their ballot papers before polling stations open on Thursday.

Missing, misplaced and in some cases spoiled postal ballot papers saw replacement packs being requested from about 40 people.

The local authority said that staff worked into yesterday evening to ensure every request was met and the last of the papers were hand delivered to homes today.

However, they will be too late for those who registered to send their votes in the post.

They will have to head to their local polling station if they want to ensure their votes are counted.

One Bonnyrigg resident who did not receive her papers, despite having opted for a postal vote for years, said she had been left “incredibly frustrated” by attempts to ensure she could have her say in the Euro election.

The 42-year-old, who works as a policy officer with the Scottish Government, said she contacted Midlothian Council after receiving a polling card for her local station, despite registering for the postal vote.

Despite assurances that she was registered, her postal vote never arrived and yesterday (Monday) she said she was advised to visit Midlothian Council’s Dalkeith offices to collect a replacement voting pack.

She said: “I was advised someone would call me to confirm when my paper was ready for collection.

“Before beginning my drive home, I contacted the council again to enquire whether I could collect my ballot paper.

“Imagine my disbelief when I was informed that the lorry carrying the spare ballot papers from the printer in Livingston had failed to turn up at Midlothian House.

“I’ve been told it will be hand delivered today and I can take it to my local polling station – it defeats the whole point of registering for a postal vote.”

Midlothian Council said it had received replacement papers yesterday and worked to ensure all of them were delivered by lunchtime today.

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “In final preparation for the European Elections, which will take place on Thursday, May 23, the council is urging anyone who has not yet received, lost or spoilt their ballot papers to contact the election office on 0131 271 3384 without delay so that we can issue you with a replacement postal voting pack.”

Postal voters are reminded they can hand their ballot papers into a local polling station before they close at 10pm on Thursday.

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