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Council Leader commissions independent review of electoral issues

The Leader of Uttlesford District Council, Cllr Petrina Lees, has commissioned a leading independent electoral expert Peter Stanyon to review the issues with delayed postal vote dispatch in the North West Essex constituency in the recent General Election.

The issues arose after 2,688 postal votes for residents in the Chelmsford part of the new constituency were not dispatched as planned on Wednesday 19 June, and instead only went out on Friday 28 June. 

Thanks to the cooperation of residents returning their votes quickly, with help from both Royal Mail, and council staff hand-delivering and offering to take immediate return, some 2,076 of these 2,688 were successfully returned in time to be counted along with all the other votes cast. This represents a 77% return rate, which is typical of the three-quarters of postal votes that are usually returned in parliamentary elections. The 2,610 majority of the winning candidate, Conservative Kemi Badenoch, over Labour's Issy Waite, could therefore not have been overturned by this delay, as all but 612 of the postal votes were returned and counted.

On commissioning the review, Cllr Lees said: "The running of elections is understandably in the hands of the Returning Officer, rather than politicians, but nonetheless it is important that we take an oversight role to ensure that the issue in the last couple of weeks is understood, with learning from it applied in future. I have therefore consulted the Association of Electoral Administrators, and commissioned Peter Stanyon to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent review. 

"Transparency is important, so I undertake to publish his report in full. In the meantime, I am grateful to all concerned for the hard work that went into so successfully sending out and receiving back these postal votes, so that the verdict of the people of North West Essex in choosing their MP for the next five years is not in question."


8 July 2024

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