Royal Mail refuses to admit inefficiency in managing expat postal votes

Published:  30 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
The first official report of expat voters losing their chance to vote in the referendum due to the inefficiency of the Royal Mail confirms suspicions that the Brexit result might have been Remain.

Castle Point Council in Essex has admitted it had been necessary to send out a second batch of 144 postal voting cards to its British citizens living in EU member states. Out of the second batch, 106 votes were received and noted, suggesting that 38 expats from the area had not received the cards in time to return them.

Despite the Royal Mail receiving the first batch of cards on 25 May, it was not delivered to Castle Point council for forwarding to expats overseas. Once the local council realised time was of the essence, emergency proxy voting was organised, but it’s still not clear why the original batch was unable to be delivered or why 38 expat voters were unable to receive their cards in order to vote.

When asked, a spokesperson for the Royal Mail failed to offer an explanation for the losses and delays, saying only that no issues concerning the delivery of voting packs had been noted. A letter from Castle Point council to expat electors on the registered voters list apologised for the delay, adding that the packs had been re-issued and had been included with the letter. It also mentioned that Royal Mail as well as the council was investigating the issue.

Whilst, in the midst of the chaos caused by the Leave win, Castle Point’s problems and the small numbers involved may seem insignificant, the implications of missing ballots and votes lost in the post either in the UK or across Europe should be a cause for concern, Number-crunching reveals that the 38 votes which were not received represent 27 per cent of the total postal votes for the area.

Given that over a million UK expats are scattered around EU member states and assuming that just 50 per cent of them chose to vote, with some 25 per cent of that number using the postal vote service, as many as 33,750 postal voters may well have been disenfranchised due to Royal Mail inefficiency. Add to that the number of also disenfranchised long-stay expats and the number of Regrexit voters and the outcome of the referendum might well have been very different.
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