Action plan drawn over Doncaster ballot errors

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STAFF are to be given extra training, and postal vote arrangements are to reviewed, after a Doncaster Council investigation into concerns raised from this year’s elections.

Voters were furious in May when hundreds of postal votes failed to be delivered to the electorate, and some people did not receive their polling cards.

A report which goes before councillors tomorrow stated: “Due to a misunderstanding on the operation of the electoral management system on how to manipulate data fields, the data sent to print excluded 684 postal votes on the initial print run that were delivered by Royal Mail from April 20 onwards.

“The areas principally affected were parts of Sprotbrough, Conisbrough Park, Hatfield Woodhouse and Moss.

“When this problem became apparent on April 30 arrangements were put in place to hand-deliver these postal votes.”

No conclusive answer has been given as to why areas including Mexborough did not receive polling cards.

The council report says the balance of evidence indicates the full delivery of poll cards was handed to Royal Mail, but it is not possible to confirm that conclusively.

It added the printers had been able to provide evidence to show they completed their work successfully.

Royal Mail has given assurances regarding its willingness to work towards improvements for the future.

Among 11 actions, the report states the Chief Executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators has been asked to carry out a review of the council’s election arrangements. His recommendations will be included in future planning for elections.

It also says refresher training is to be provided for all members of the council’s elections team on the use of the election software.

A procedures manual will be produced for council elections staff, while arrangements for delivery of polling cards at future elections will be reviewed.