Ballot paper error causes parish row

A ROW has broken out between parish councillors and election officials after a mistake was made on ballot papers used during the elections.Suffolk Coastal District Council has admitted that an extra name appeared on Bucklesham Parish Council's ballot papers after officials failed to remove the name of a councillor who had withdrawn from the election.

A ROW has broken out between parish councillors and election officials after a mistake was made on ballot papers used during the elections.

Suffolk Coastal District Council has admitted that an extra name appeared on Bucklesham Parish Council's ballot papers after officials failed to remove the name of a councillor who had withdrawn from the election.

Judi Rixon, who is now a member of Martlesham Parish Council, withdrew her name from Bucklesham Parish Council elections before the April 5 deadline.

But parish council chairman Richard Brunt said Ms Rixon's name still appeared on the ballot papers on May 1, despite election staff being told of the change.


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Although the election is still valid, other candidates are now entitled to challenge the results in the High Court.

Mr Brunt said: "We were just disappointed with their inefficiency. It was pointed out to the officials at the voting right at the beginning of the day that an extra name appeared when a lady withdrew the day after nominations closed.

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"The simple solution would have been to put a line through the ballot paper of Judy's name but that didn't occur to anyone. It's bureaucracy gone mad."

Mr Brunt said the parish council was intending to write to the district council to say it was not satisfied with its conduct in the election and the fact a mistake was made.

It is believed that during the election Ms Rixon received a number of votes, although the exact number is not known.

Tom Griffin, chief executive of the district council and returning officer for the election, said: "The position is that one of the candidates at the election withdrew, and her name should have come off the ballot paper but by mistake it did not.

"The situation is the election is valid and stands but if anybody wants to challenge it then they can do so by petition to the High Court.

"It's down to anybody who is entitled to challenge. Unless they challenge it, it's valid. There was a mistake, no question about that, and it's unfortunate it was made."

Despite the mistake, Mr Brunt said he thought it was unlikely anyone would be taking up the issue with the High Court.

"It's only an aggrieved party that can challenge and I don't think it would be in the interest of the parish council as a whole to challenge it as for one, somebody on the parish council might be at risk of losing their seat," he added.

Ms Rixon was not available for comment.

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