Newbury - Postal voting confusion over two envelopes for local elections
Confusion reigns among postal voters in Newbury and Thatcham town areas, where town council seats are contested by the political parties. The arrival of two identical official election envelopes within two days has resulted in some being torn up, 'returned to sender' (or to the Town Hall) or put straight in the recycling. No explanation is given in the first mailing - or by the local electoral officials - about there being a second town council mailing.
"I was very surprised that the envelopes weren't marked differently," said Lib Dem Agent Tony Vickers. "We were expecting the two mailings but there was no Council Press Release before the first one went out. By the time I opened my second, last Friday, we were already getting reports from canvassers and by phone from our supporters indicating confusion. So I told the Acting Returning Officer."
"It appears that the Conservative run West Berkshire Council left political parties to explain the process to voters. I challenge even the well-endowed Tories to prove they told every voter who registered for a postal vote."
There has never been an election day like it, because until this Parliament the law said no more than two elections could take place on one day.
"It shows an all too typical disdain for the voting public - and for Lib Dem run town councils - by the Conservatives," said town councillor Elizabeth O'Keeffe (Newbury, Victoria), whose brother had already re-addressed his envelope back to West Berks Council when she met him on Friday. "One reason to have lay people in charge - i.e. councillors - is that we ought to be able to think like the folk we represent. Clearly those in charge didn't do that here."
Oh come on boys and girls, that's just nit picking! Does anyone really rip up the second envelope if a sender just happens to have dispatched two on the same day? We can cope with the lottery and even the pools aren't that difficult! Frankly, this is exactly what gets me about some politicians; they assume the electors are as daft as they are.