The timing of the postal votes being sent out by St Edmundsbury is criticised

The St Edmundsbury Borough Council offices in Bury St Edmunds.

The St Edmundsbury Borough Council offices in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Archant

The timing of sending out the postal votes by St Edmundsbury has been criticised by a number of candidates.

Members of the public should now have their ballot papers, but some candidates are unhappy that St Edmundsbury Borough Council did not send them out around the original planned date.

David Nettleton, who is standing again in Bury’s Risbygate ward, said independent candidates – who are their own parliamentary agents – and agents had been told the postal votes would be issued on or around April 15, but the date had been pushed back to April 23.

He said: “It could make a difference if people are on holiday. As candidates we expect to be told the correct information by the returning officer. That’s why I’m going to be making a complaint to the returning officer for giving us incorrect information.”

He added he had timed his leaflet drop to coincide with when he was told people would be receiving their postal vote.

Trevor Beckwith, who is standing again in Bury’s Moreton Hall ward, said this was normal practice. “If you send them out too early they get binned or lost or whatever, but if you send them when the postal votes go out you hope it will be fresh in their memory.”

Sara Mildmay-White, who is standing again for Rougham, said she had not had any concerns regarding postal voting from any of her electorate.

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St Edmundsbury Borough Council has issued the postal votes for those living in St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath and the Bury and West Suffolk parliamentary constituencies.

A spokesman said postal votes were sent out on April 23 “which is both well in time ahead of the May 7 elections and in line with the other district/ borough councils across Suffolk”.

“While we accept that we originally told parliamentary agents that we intended to post these earlier, these few extra days have allowed us to ensure that the ballot papers, which in some cases include parliamentary, county, district and parish election papers, are correct.”

Voters who have not yet received their ballot papers should call 01638 719366 or 01284 757131.

n The candidates for the Risbygate ward are: Rod Barrett (Conservative), Marilyn Sayer (Labour), Julia Wakelam (Green), David Nettleton (Independent). For the Moreton Hall ward they are: Terry Buckle (Conservative), Peter Thompson (Conservative), Frank Warby (Conservative), Cliff Hind (Labour), Trevor Beckwith (Independent). And for the Rougham ward they are: Sara Mildmay-White (Conservative) and Kevin Hind (Labour).

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