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Friday, May 28, 2004

The Electoral Commission - an apology?

It seems that the advice of the Electoral Commission that the history of the North West English European Region and the complexity of the elections there makes an all-postal ballot undesirable has been proved correct. Stories of chaos are rife already and the ballot papers have only just been despatched.

On Liberal Democrat forums stories predominate about the many disasters that this ballot is facing and it is not just the North West. One person writes about receiving "the ballot paper and envelope for Edgeley Cheadle Heath ward despite living in the normally safe Lib Dem ward of Bredbury and Woodley." In addition, some Stockport ballot papers have been delivered in Oldham and there have been other ward mix-ups as well. It is said that the instructions are over-complicated and involve folding the very large and difficult ballot paper in a specific way, not unlike origami. In some cases the wrong envelopes have been enclosed, in others the wrong declarations. Helplines are reportedly being inundated with calls and confusion abounds.

But all is OK because according to Peter Hain, "I reject entirely the charge that there is chaos in any of the postal vote regions." No apology there then.

Update: Stockport is having all 220,000 ballot packs re-printed and has to arrange their urgent delivery to households in time for people to send in their votes on the new papers.

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