Voters' concern over delayed postal ballots

Postal vote being dropped into a postbox
Postal voters have reported delays in receiving their ballot papers [Getty Images]

Some voters in York fear their postal votes will not count, due to delays in their ballot papers being delivered.

One first-time voter who had not received her ballot said it had left her feeling "anxious and frustrated".

The council has said only a "relatively few" voters have been affected and said the problem was due to postal "delays".

However, Royal Mail said that was not the case and said it had only received the last batch of ballots from the authority at the weekend.

York City Council is responsible for issuing ballot papers in two constituencies - York Central and York Outer.

Completed postal votes must have reached councils by 22:00 BST on polling day.

Chris Wood, who is recently retired, applied for a postal vote when the election was announced because he knew he would be away on polling day.

He also holds a proxy vote for his two sons, who are currently out of the country.

He contacted the council when the papers had not arrived and was told there was an issue with the post.

Mr Wood was told to visit the council offices on Friday to "sort something out".

"I went round to West Offices and there were about forty people there, we were all in the same position."

He said the council had offered people new ballot papers and the chance to vote at the offices, which he did not take up as his sons had not decided who to vote for.

Mr Wood has posted the paperwork, but remains concerned they will not be delivered on time.

"If they're having problems with Royal Mail actually delivering things, how is it going to be once we fill them in and have to send them back?”

He said he felt the delays were a "terrible failure of the system".

Mary Holmes, 23, is a first-time voter who has not received her paperwork.

Currently based in London, though registered to vote in York, she applied for a postal vote about three weeks ago, hoping it would be a "smooth process".

The papers only arrived at her York address on Monday and although forwarded straight away she fears she will not get the ballot in time to return it before the deadline.

"It's really frustrating and I feel kind of anxious about it," she said.

"I'm worried that it won't arrive back in York by the time it needs to be counted."

She said she was "really excited to vote".

"It feels really important in this election, as with any election, that young voices are heard."

Ian Floyd, acting returning officer at York City Council, said: "We are aware that some postal votes hadn’t arrived over the weekend, due to delays with delivery that are being seen across the country."

He said they believed the number of people affected was "relatively low".

"To date we have received more than half of the postal votes already issued, which is on track with what we would normally expect," he added.

He said they believed all the final packs were delivered on Monday.

Mr Floyd said postal voters who had not received their papers should, if possible, visit the council's West Offices to get their ballots reissued.

Royal Mail insisted there was "no backlog" of postal votes and the firm had only received the last pack of postal votes for York over the weekend.

"Whilst we are not complacent, we remain confident that postal votes handed to us on time will be delivered prior to polling day," a spokesperson said.

They said they had "investigated" all concerns raised and ballot packs were being delivered as soon as they received them from councils.

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