Abbey postal votes void after “costly” printing error

Picture: Malcolm Wells (141507-0165) PPP-140523-011847003
Picture: Malcolm Wells (141507-0165) PPP-140523-011847003

Over a thousand postal vote forms are now void after a “costly” printing error.

Warwick District Council has reissued 1,090 postal vote forms after the Labour Party logo was printed against the name of a Liberal Democrat candidate in Abbey Ward.

The mistake will set the council back several hundred pounds in postal fees alone, after it was ordered to replace all cards, and dismiss all votes already cast since they were delivered on Tuesday.

Acting returning officer Chris Elliott said the mistake affects only the district council vote, not the Parliamentary or town council poll ahead of the election on May 7.

Abbey ward is seen as one of the most contested in the district, with two Conservative and one Liberal Democrat candidate being elected in 2011.

Lib Dem election agent, John Whitehouse, said: “With people being asked to vote for up to three candidates out of a list of 12, many electors rely on the party logos to help guide their choices.

In such a tightly-contested ward the mistake could have seriously affected the outcome of this election

John Whitehouse

“In such a tightly-contested ward the mistake could have seriously affected the outcome of this election.

“I’m grateful for a rapid decision to correct the situation, even though it will prove costly in terms of reprinting and postage costs.”

A district council spokesman said: “ Andy Tulloch is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Abbey Ward and should have a Liberal Democrat logo next to his name.

“Advice has been taken from the Electoral Commission and they consider that a re-issue of the district council ballot papers is necessary to ensure that it complies with legislative requirements.

“Ballot papers will be a different colour to the originals to ensure the new postal vote statement and ballot paper are easily identifiable from previously issued documents.

“These will be sent to residents as a matter of urgency.”

Any votes already cast in the district election will not count, and voters should vote again with the new cards.