Another little missive from the CEO of WBC – lets all hope for the residents of Weybourne and Badshot Lea – it’s third time lucky.
We had agreed with ERS that the new green packs would be delivered today to our offices so that we could check and despatch them. The full batch was received, but still contained errors.
To say that we are furious is to put it very mildly.
I have expressed my extreme displeasure to the senior executive by phone and I have escalated a formal complaint to the UK Group CEO, as attached. Just as I was about to hit ‘Send’ on this email, she has replied to me as follows: “Thank you for your e-mail. I have been made aware of the errors concerning misprinted ballots for approximately 400 voters in the borough ward of Farnham Weybourne & Badshot Lea. You have my reassurance that we will respond quickly to the issues raised and I will be in touch with more detail over the next couple of days. In the meantime, I can confirm that the correct reprinted postal packs will be with you tomorrow morning – the transport is booked to arrive with you by 9am.”
3. When we receive the packs tomorrow, we shall checking (SIC) and (if correct) despatch immediately, so voters should get the packs on Thursday. I will continue to keep you informed.
4. As you can see, we are doing what we can to raise voter awareness in the ward and to help them cast a valid vote. Thank you for doing your bit too, which is exceptionally important.
5. I was asked by one agent why we don’t use a local printer. Ballot printing is very specialised and few printers are equipped to do this. We have used Electoral Reform Services (ERS Group), who are the biggest such printer in the UK, supplying a great many councils. Clearly, we will review this for the future.
6. I have also been asked whether we checked the ballot papers before despatch. As you can see in the detail of the attached complaint letter, our checks identified the first error and prevented them from being despatched. We were not given the opportunity to check the next batch despite our instructions. We are checking the new batches.
A letter from Tom Horwood Chief Executive of ‘Your Waverley.”
Which sounds to us here at the Waverley Web like a sketch the Two Ronnies would be proud of.
Dear Voter in Weybourne & Badshot Lea
Postal Vote pack re-issue
This letter is being sent to you because you are registered to vote by post in the Waverley Borough Council ward of Farnham Weybourne & Badshot Lea for the 2nd May elections.
I apologise that many of the postal vote packs in this ward (on white paper) contain a printing error, which means that you will be receiving a replacement pack (on green paper). The printers have taken full responsibility for the error, but I would like to add how sorry I am that this has happened and that it is causing such an inconvenience.
The town council ballot papers (on peach-coloured paper) were fine. No other ward in Waverley has been affected and they will continue to use the correctly printed papers: white for borough and peach for town/parish. Only Weybourne & Badshot Lea will use the green papers for the borough.
If you have already sent in your white postal vote papers for Weybourne & Badshot Lea, they will not be counted and you need to vote again on the new green papers, which should arrive this week.
If you have not yet sent in your white postal vote papers, please destroy and dispose of them. Vote using the green papers, which should arrive this week.
If you have voted for the town council on the peach papers, that is fine: the town council peach papers were printed correctly.
Here at the Waverley Web, we respectfully suggest he should have added if you are Confused.com of Weybourne & Badshot Lea, and are seeing RED – you should address your letter of complaint to Aunty Elsie – Councillor Jenny Else a member of the EXECUTIVE – who claims that mistakes never happen at ‘Your Waverley’ on red notepaper!
All postal votes need to be received by us by 10pm on polling day: Thursday, 2nd May 2019.
Some or most of (but not all of) the 428 Waverley election postal ballot papers had the name and address of the voter on the reverse, and some had the wrong name & address. Of course, it’s the printers fault. But wasn’t someone checking the proofs?
This is how the head honcho says it happened. This ward’s packs were initially delayed by a few days: in our usual proofing at the printers in East London, we rejected the Weybourne & Badshot Lea packs because a party logo was printed incorrectly. The printer fixed that problem but added the new error that wasn’t there before, with pages being printed in the wrong place, and then, unfortunately, did not send us proof copies before despatch. The printers have accepted responsibility for these errors. The wrong packs started arriving with voters on Saturday, 20th April. We were alerted over the bank holiday weekend and immediately worked to resolve the problem; I thank voters, candidates, agents and others who were in touch with me over the weekend. The National Electoral Commission has been kept informed and agrees with our plan to reissue the new postal vote packs on green paper.
Again, I am sorry.
Yours faithfully, Tom Horwood, Returning Officer