Portsmouth voters’ anger as council delay means they miss out on European elections vote
ALL voters in Portsmouth received EU election poll cards 'later than usual', the council has admitted, with some missing the postal vote deadline as a result.
Portsmouth City Council blamed the blunder on the 'difficulties' of timetabling two elections within three weeks, as local elections were held last week.
Some city households were given their cards on May 8, however, the cut-off for registering for the postal vote was 5pm on the same day. Others claimed that on Friday they still had yet to receive theirs.
Although it is possible to register for the postal vote without a poll card many people use them as a reminder.
For Katie Burton from Stamshaw this meant she would not be able to vote at all in the European Parliamentary election. The 26-year-old said: 'I didn't get mine until the 8th and I go away soon. I'm not back until after the vote so won't even be able to do it anyway now.'
Milton resident Sue George was in a similar situation. 'I got mine on Thursday, May 9,' she said.
'I'm out the country on a work trip on the day of the election. It's too late to register for a postal vote and the only thing they could suggest when I called today was vote by proxy.
'The problem is I don't know anyone well enough to ask them to do this for me and I like my vote to remain confidential. So I'll sadly not be able to vote and not happy about it at all.'
The council apologised but explained that it would not be legally possible to extend the postal vote deadline. A council spokesperson said: 'It's very unusual to have two elections within three weeks and this caused difficulties with the usual timetable.
'However, poll cards are only one of the ways we tell people about postal voting. Whilst we use them as a reminder, and send them as soon as we can, we also publicise the opportunity to register online, throughout the year.
'We're very sorry that some residents didn't apply for a postal vote because their poll cards arrived later than usual.
'It's not too late to appoint someone to vote on your behalf – called "by proxy". The deadline for applications is 5pm on Wednesday, May 15. Application forms are at yourvotematters.co.uk – just click on 'how do I vote'.'
Some 16,682 people have registered for a postal vote in the EU elections, which take place on May 23.