A lack of funding led to UK stamps being put on postal ballot papers for overseas voters ahead of the general election in May, the Electoral Commission disclosed in a report. A flood of complaints came in from Britons living around the world that they were unable to vote, despite being registered to do so. Some did not receive their postal ballot papers before the May 7 poll, which swept the Conservatives to victory. Others received their papers too late to be able to send them back to their last-registered constituency in time for them to be counted. More than 400 people complained to the Electoral Commission.
In a report, published today, the Electoral Commission said that within the UK, returning officers (ROs) are required to include sufficient pre-paid postage on return envelopes for voters to send their completed postal ballot papers back. They are not, however, required or funded to provide the additional postage necessary to enable packs to be returned to the UK from other countries.
“The UK return postage is normally printed onto the return envelopes, and it appears that in some cases it was also included on return envelopes in postal ballot packs sent to overseas addresses. This led to confusion for some overseas voters who may have mistakenly assumed that the pre-paid postage on the envelope would be sufficient for them to return their postal ballot pack to the UK,” it said.