Councils raise concerns over delays to postal vote forms

Post box on Isle of Skye in the Highlands
Western Isles Council said it had taken a high number of calls from postal voters [Getty Images]

Councils in Scotland have raised concerns over delays to postal vote forms being sent out ahead of the general election.

Western Isles Council reported a high number of calls from residents waiting for a voting pack and said this was due to "national disruption".

Fife Council said there had been Royal Mail delays. The BBC has also seen reports from voters in other councils who had expected to received a ballot form.

Royal Mail said it had investigated but "found no issues" within the network. Voting packs are due to arrive by Saturday.

The UK deadline to apply for a postal vote was June 19. Anyone who is a long-term postal voter or applied before 7 June should have received their voting pack last week.

Others who applied after this date could expect to be part of a second dispatch of forms.

However, this has not been widely advertised and has caused confusion to some voters who have seen friends or family with ballot papers already.

post box with person posting ballot
The UK deadline to apply for a postal vote was June 19 [Getty Images]

Western Isles Council said the situation had caused "significant concern" and that the council's election team had received a high number of calls.

Council returning officer, Malcolm Burr, said: "Voters rightly expect to receive their postal voting packs on the agreed date and make plans accordingly.

"It is vitally important that lessons are learned at national level from these delays and we do not see similar disruption in the future.”

When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the snap election for 4 July, there were concerns in Scotland that the date would clash with the school holidays.

The summer break begins in most areas in Scotland at the end of this week.

Voters going abroad would have to apply for a postal vote, receive their ballot paper and return it before flying out.

Glasgow City Council said that the timing of the election had presented "challenges" but said its first issue of postal packs was sent last week "as expected".

A spokesperson said: “The deadline for the second issue of postal votes was 19 June and packs will be issued, on schedule, at the end of this week.”

Inverclyde Council said it was not aware of any problems in the area but accepted some people may not have had their forms yet.

It said any problem would be with Royal Mail.

Fife Council said its first batch of packs had been sent out but it was aware there had been "delays in deliveries by Royal Mail".

It said postal voters who gave have not received their ballot paper by Friday should contact them and it would consider issuing a replacement.

Royal Mail said it had investigated concerns over the delivery of postal votes in Fife but had found no issues.

A spokesperson added: "We have a specialist elections team that plans every aspect of the elections delivery programmes and works closely with local authorities to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible."

The Electoral Commission said local authorities were working to get ballot forms out to postal voters "as quickly as possible".

A spokesperson said: “Anyone who applied before the deadline on Wednesday 19 June and had their application approved, should soon receive their ballot pack through the post.

"Some people may have received these already."