‘Last minute’ overseas postal vote delivery triggers fears that hundreds could miss out in EU Referendum

News Desk (22 June, 2016)

Hundreds of people in the borough could be denied the right to vote in this week’s EU referendum

10262Credit - descrier.co.uk

Over 300 Southwark voters living abroad might be denied the right to vote in the EU, writes Emma Finamore…

Hundreds of people in the borough could be denied the right to vote in this week’s EU referendum, due to the dates their postal vote packs have been sent out.

A man on the electoral roll in East Dulwich, temporarily working abroad outside of the EU, said he was concerned he had not been given enough time to send back his vote. “Based on the dates the council sent the postal vote forms, anyone outside of Europe is not likely to get the papers in time to send them back by the deadline,” he said.

Despite applying for a postal vote a month before the referendum, the man – who wished to remain anonymous – said Southwark Council only sent his pack on 14 June – less than ten days before the deadline to return them to the UK. Over 300 overseas voters were sent their packs on that day.

“Given it takes up to seven working days for Royal Mail first class to arrive in any location outside of Europe, this basically means I have no vote as I cannot return the forms in time,” he said. “It does not seem fair to be disenfranchised simply because of an administrative issue, when I applied for postal well in advance.”

The angry voter said he had received documents and personally paid for a courier to ship his documents express delivery back to the UK on Monday morning: “It is touch and go and I’m doing this because I take my right to vote seriously, but can’t see it being healthy for democracy that one could get priced out of a vote. For a neck and neck race, this is a scary proposition.”

He also described the council as “tone deaf on this issue” – and that they suggested several times to use a proxy vote, although he made it clear this was something he could not do. “My sense is that they have not been willing to acknowledge that they haven’t thought the process through at all,” he said.

A council spokesperson said it had abided by all timeframes and procedures required by the Electoral Commission. The first “batch” of postal vote packs, for those registered by 15 May was sent on 24 May. “The number of overseas electors in the first run was 763,” she said. “After that, the next run of all postal voters, including overseas voters, was despatched on 14 June.”

She said this included 329 postal packs to overseas electors.

Contribute
Annoyed From The UK says:

Thanks for allowing this to be posted – it was initially marked as spam on disqus.com – but as you can see it is particularly pertinent !. With regard to the 329 Figure losing out. I suspect this number is just the tip of the “Tip Of The Iceberg” being outside the EU personally. Where I live alone I know many, many, people cannot vote here as their addresses here will not “easily” listed from outside this country – it would be fair to say significantly more than 329 “eligible Brits Abroad” here alone would not be unable to vote. This is because there are many thousands of Brits living here. There are also many other countries I can immediately think of like this one. No votes for us then I guess ! That is unless they also own a UK address from which they can then arrange to vote, or if they can visit there UK address or they can afford to fly back for the vote, not exactly accessible for all us “Eligible Brits Abroad” yet at the same time REALLY NOT ELIGIBLE BRITS WHO ARE UNABLE TO VOTE – interesting eh ! The Truth will always out ! anyway thanks for allowing this posting….

Please think very carefully how you will vote, I am NOT ALLOWED to vote !
Please consider voting LEAVE, as I cannot – because my choice of being
able to vote has already been taken away !

Annoyed From The UK says:

For You Information – I have a democratic right to vote up to 15 years after leaving the UK
Officially, that is.

However in Practice this means nothing as I am located outside the Official Big Brother EU State and without an officially listed address. I cannot vote which is both annoying and undemocratic !

Please think very carefully how you will vote, I am NOT ALLOWED to vote !
Please consider voting LEAVE, as I cannot – because my choice of being able to vote has already been taken away ! Thank you.

Marge says:

You left, your loss!

Annoyed From The UK says:

A bit harsh and a slightly fascist attitude don’t you think ! Currently as the UK has not yet been totally assimilated and sucked into the EU Big Brother Control State. I do have some freedoms left as a UK citizen abroad. Currently, I have a democratic right to vote for up to 15 years after leaving the UK “Officially”. Yet this democratic freedom has just been ignored and in fact worse, my choice to vote has been taken away. To me this is a very worrying loss of Democracy & freedom to vote and we are not yet controlled by the EU Big Brother Superstate yet. I assume with your own “You left, your loss!” I QUOTE attitude you must be REMAIN ! All the REMAIN CAMP I have come across recently has this attitude and little or no interest in maintaining any democratic rights or freedoms for it’s UK Citizens at home or abroad – overall quite worrying ! You say “You left, your loss!” but it is not quite that clear cut. I still however, visit my family, friends and colleagues in the UK every 2 or 3 months, Firstly I am currently buying a house in the UK (at an unnecessarily high and artificially inflated price !) financed from money held in my 3 UK bank accounts. I visit my family, friends and colleagues in the UK every 2 or 3 months and spend a lot of money in the UK, which I still call home by the way !I love the UK and my family, and friends I would never sell out my home country, family, and friend an force them endure loss of Sovereignty, Democracy, and Freedoms, all Imposed on the UK by a Faceless, unelected Big Brother EU Superstate ! I am very worried about this, especially as I have been unfairly blocked from democratically voting LEAVE and if I have been blocked, thinking it through, I estimate between 5,000 to 10,000 Eligible Brits Abroad (maybe more even) would have been in a similar circumstances, countries and situations. Not able to exercise their democratic vote in this EU Remain or leave vote. I think is a huge hidden problem and that is a worrying blow for democracy in my eyes. What do you think ?

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