Eastbourne ballot paper theft isn’t first case of its kind

Ballot box
Ballot box

The theft of thousands of blank ballot papers for Eastbourne’s Parliamentary and Borough elections isn’t the only concerning case of its kind.

In November 2014, police in Scotland launched an investigation into the alleged theft of documents, including unused referendum ballot papers, in East Lothian, near Edinburgh.

A video posted on Facebook showed a person with the papers, which it is claimed were found beside a bin outside East Lothian Council’s headquarters in Haddington.

At the time, the council rejected the claim and said the papers were removed from a storage room.

East Lothian chief executive and returning officer Angela Leitch said the matter was “extremely concerning” and both the police and the council were looking into it.

Ballot papers for Eastbourne’s Parliamentary and Borough elections are having to be reprinted just a week before the election after a printer’s van delivering the blank papers was stolen on Wednesday, April 29.

Ballot papers are also having to be reprinted for handfuls of Telscombe and Peacehaven residents and postal voters in Hull following major errors.

Brighton and Hove City Council has today (April 29) told postal voters in Peacehaven and Telscombe to destroy any green ballot papers delivered to their addresses as these papers, for Lewes District Council, were distributed to the area by mistake.

Fortunately, the error was spotted in time and new packs with the correct ballot papers for the town councils are hurriedly being issued.

In Hull, the council sent out a large batch of postal ballot papers to the Hull East constituency which have omitted the names of the Labour candidate Karl Turner (the sitting MP) and the Green candidate Sarah Walpole.

The problem was brought to Turner’s attention this morning (April 29) when postal voters started phoning his office to enquire why he wasn’t standing for election again. It is understood the problem affected 484 postal ballots but the Hull City Council returning officer has reassured voters these papers have already been recalled and the issue is being dealt with speedily.

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