Postal votes ‘not sent out early enough’

6/5/11- Rother Council elections at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. SUS-150428-113822001
6/5/11- Rother Council elections at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. SUS-150428-113822001

Bexhillians could lose their chance to vote because Rother Council hasn’t sent postal vote papers out early enough, it has been claimed.

John Brooks, of Reynolds Drive, registered for a postal vote as he was due to go on holiday on Tuesday (April 27) for the election period.

But the day before he was due to leave, his paper had still not arrived.

Speaking to the Observer on Monday, Mr Brooks said: “I have not received my postal vote.

“I have been on to the council about it and they came back to me and had completely washed their hands of it.

“They said they did not send them out and did everything they should have done.”

He added: “If you cannot get the postal votes out it doesn’t work, does it?”

“Basically we won’t be able to vote in the council or parliamentary elections.”

Another voter, who lives in the Sackville Ward, said he applied for a postal vote when the election was called and was told it would be sent on April 22. The votes were instead sent out two days later.

The man, who is due to go away this weekend, said friends and relatives living in other constituencies, including Lambeth and Leicestershire, had received their postal votes well in advance.

He said: “Friends and relatives had theirs the week before last.

“They have had theirs and sent them back.

“Why are Rother taking so long to send them out?”

The voter, who did not want to be named, said: “Rother’s website says if you do not receive it, don’t contact them until after April 30.

“That’s no good for anyone who is away for two weeks!”

He added: “I’m really not very happy about it.

“I’m hoping the votes will come through in time, but if not the margin for error is rather small.

“It’s not very satisfactory I don’t think.”

Malcolm Johnston, Rother District Council executive director of resources and returning officer, said: “Around 9,000 people in the district have registered for a postal vote in the forthcoming elections.

“We began sending out voting papers last week and the process is carefully planned to ensure that everyone receives them in plenty of time to make sure they can cast their vote.”