General election day fury as hundreds unable to vote after blunder | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Thousands of Britons have been left unable to forged their votes within the General Election on account of postal poll delays, with voters claiming that postmen have been instructed to prioritise parcel deliveries over ballots.

This disruption has affected as many as 120 constituencies, because the postal system sees a hovering demand.

Many voters reported receiving their ballots too late to take part in at present’s all-important election.

Sandra Javens, 75, and her husband Dave from Westbourne, West Sussex, have been amongst these affected.

They had utilized for postal votes earlier than leaving for a vacation in France on June 20 however didn’t obtain their ballots in time.

Mrs. Javens claimed a postman knowledgeable her that parcels have been being prioritised, resulting in their postal vote delay.

“We haven’t been given a choice – and that’s not right,” she instructed The Telegraph.

Despite these claims, Royal Mail has denied prioritising parcels over ballots, stating there are not any delays in West Sussex for both parcels or publish.

However, studies from Royal Mail workers to BBC Panorama in February prompt that letters have been usually left behind in sorting workplaces, with tracked objects and parcels taking priority.

Jon Pinches, a director at MPS, an organization that prints poll papers for native authorities, confirmed being knowledgeable of such prioritisations and staffing points at supply workplaces by postmen and Royal Mail staff.

This shouldn’t be the primary time Royal Mail has confronted scrutiny over its service priorities.

In 2023, Ofcom accepted Royal Mail’s declare that it doesn’t prioritise parcels however nonetheless fined the postal service £5.6 million for lacking supply targets.

The postal service presents a Special Delivery service guaranteeing next-day supply by 1pm, however different companies lack assured supply occasions, though first-class publish is predicted inside one enterprise day.

Voters had till 5pm on June 19 to use for a postal vote and have been suggested to return them instantly.

Those unable to ship their ballots again by publish may hand them in at polling stations or council workplaces, albeit with extra form-filling necessities on account of adjustments within the Elections Act 2022.

This scenario left many, particularly these already on vacation, successfully disenfranchised.

The demand for postal voting has surged, with 21 % of voters utilizing postal ballots within the 2019 basic election. This yr, the quantity is predicted to rise by over one million.

The Electoral Commission has introduced that it’ll examine the postal voting points as a part of its post-election analysis.

The delays have sparked debate amongst celebration leaders, councils, and Royal Mail over who’s accountable.

In North West Essex, over 2,600 ballots have been delayed on account of “human error” by the council, prompting the native council chief govt to have staff hand-deliver ballots to make sure well timed voting.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch criticised the Labour-led council in North West Essex for probably disenfranchising 2,600 voters.

She expressed frustration on Twitter, and wrote: “The community is now saddled with council leadership unable to carry out basic functions competently.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “We have a specialist elections crew that plans each side of the elections supply programmes and works intently with native authorities to make sure the whole lot runs as easily as potential.”