Postal vote delays: What’s happening and what to do if yours hasn’t arrived before the election

Postal vote delays: what you need to know  (REUTERS)
Postal vote delays: what you need to know (REUTERS)

The government is investigating reports that voters in constituencies across the UK have not yet received their postal votes ahead of general election polling day on 4 July.

There are concerns that thousands could miss out on the chance to vote as people in up to 90 constituencies have raised concerns about their ballots not yet arriving, according to reports.

Royal Mail has come in for criticism but the company denied it is the source of the issue, saying there is no backlog.

Postal affairs minister Kevin Hollinrake told The Telegraph: “We urge Royal Mail to do all they can to make sure that postal votes get to the right people at the right time, and time is completely of the essence now.

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“There’s a resourcing issue. They have recruited extra people and I welcome that but they’ve got to make sure they’ve got the right number of people to deliver the mail at busy times like this.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Where concerns have been raised, we have investigated and confirmed ballot packs are being delivered as soon as they arrive in our network.”

The option to vote by post is offered to all registered voters in the UK, but must be applied for in advance. Voters should then receive their ballot in the post, fill it out as soon as possible, and post it to their local polling station to arrive in time for 10pm on polling day.

People may choose to vote by post for a number of reasons, most commonly because they are away on polling day. Only voters in Northern Ireland are required to give a reason.

What should I do if I’ve not yet received my postal vote?

If you’ve been affected by this issue and have not yet received the ballot you applied for in the post, you will still be able to vote.

Anyone in this situation must request a replacement postal ballot pack in person from their local authority. This can be done by up to 5pm on polling day, and you must take ID.

The authority’s elections office will usually be located at the town hall or the main council building. Most will offer the option to complete a ballot on site and hand it back to them, ensuring your vote is received.

Alternatively, a replacement can also be sent by post up until 5pm on Wednesday 3 July or voters can authorise someone to collect it on their behalf, according to the Electoral Commission, which oversees elections in the UK.

The independent elections body also offers a handy postcode checker to find the contact details of your local election team.

Voters can also choose to hand their postal vote in to their local polling station if they are concerned about posting it, or ask a trusted person to do so for them (who must fill out a form).

If you still choose to post your ballot, the Royal Mail says it should be sent no later than Wednesday 3 July. You must ensure it arrives in the post box before final collection time.