Polling cards were sent to 3,462 people who are not eligible to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, according to the Electoral Commission. The figure could rise further because six local authorities are yet to confirm if they have been affected by the blunder. Any postal votes that have been wrongly issued will be cancelled and names will be removed from electoral registers used at polling stations on 23 June, the watchdog said. A problem with elections software used by a number of local authorities in England and Wales meant some non-eligible EU citizens were wrongly sent poll cards. Senior leave campaigners Iain Duncan Smith and Bernard Jenkin wrote to the commission on Thursday expressing “serious concerns about the conduct of the European Union referendum and its franchise”.
A commission spokesman said: “The software provider has resolved the issue which means that, if any postal votes have been issued to these electors, they will be cancelled and none of these electors will be shown as eligible on the electoral registers to be used at polling stations on 23 June.
“All of the affected electors will also be written to by their local electoral registration officer with an explanation of what happened and will be told that they will not be able to vote at the referendum.”
Duncan Smith said it was “farcical” that local authorities had been sent a survey asking them how many people were affected in their area and branded the bungle a “scandal … It’s becoming worryingly clear that this scandal is much worse than the Electoral Commission originally said”.