Delay on postal deliveries may affect Kirklees Council elections as voters wait for ballot papers

Delayed postal votes could affect next week’s local elections, it has been warned after a Dewsbury woman revealed she is still waiting for her ballot paper.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 8:52 am
The scene at Cathedral House in Huddersfield for the local election count in 2019

Jax Lovelock said she made an application for postal votes for her and her father, who is shielding due to Covid-19, as soon as she was able in March.

The forms should have arrived on Thursday (April 29) but did not.

Now Kirklees Council has confirmed that some voters are yet to receive their packs but it has pledged to ensure that no-one will miss out.

A spokesman said: “We have provisions in place to replace any postal vote packs that have not been delivered.”

Ms Lovelock contacted the council when her postal votes failed to materialise and was told she would have to travel into Huddersfield to collect replacement papers in person.

She said that was “ridiculous”.

“I can do it – and will do it – but I’ll have to take time out of work to do so," she said.

“I was told I’d need ID for both me and my dad as well as a letter of consent from him.

“But what about those vulnerable people that can’t travel? How do they ensure they can vote?

“I’m also worried that there may not be enough time between now and polling day to collect the postal vote, fill it in and get to a post office to post it in time for May 6.

“There are no words to describe how I feel about this.”

She said a council employee revealed that while the problem did not appear to be widespread it was random in that spouses in the same household could be affected: one receiving the postal vote but not the other.

She added: “It absolutely frustrates me no end that the most vulnerable people might not be allowed a say in what happens to them locally, and goodness knows why.”

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “We’re aware that some voters are yet to receive their postal vote pack.

“Royal Mail commenced delivery of the postal vote packs on April 22 and they are on their way to all households that have applied for a postal vote this year.

“We understand many people applied for a postal vote this year due to the ongoing pandemic and if anyone’s postal vote does not arrive in the next couple of days, which we’re hopeful will not be the case, we have provisions in place to replace any postal vote packs that have not been delivered.

“If you have a postal vote in place and it does not arrive by the weekend, please contact us and we can arrange for a replacement to be issued.

“Anyone visiting a polling station to vote on May 6, please know that we have all the right measures in place to ensure they are as Covid-secure and as safe as possible for all voters and staff.”

Anyone experiencing problems with postal votes should contact the council’s electoral services team on: [email protected]