Leaflets go missing before police role vote

Candidate John Howson with one of the leaflets

Candidate John Howson with one of the leaflets

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

WITH just days to go until the election of the Thames Valley Police Crime Commissioner, concerns have been raised that not all voters have received information leaflets explaining the voting process. About 21 million pink booklets were sent out on October 22 to all households registered to vote in Thursday’s poll.

But the Oxford Mail has received a number of reports from Oxfordshire residents who say they have not had the leaflets, three weeks later. And even two of the six hopefuls for the new £85,000-a-year Thames Valley Police role said the information had not come through their letterbox.

The document, produced by the Electoral Commission, gives guidance on how to vote and explains voters have a first and second choice.

The election takes place on Thursday, amid concerns the contest has failed to ignite public interest. Tim Starkey, the Labour’s nomination from Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, said: “I haven’t received mine and I don’t think anyone in my street has.

“It’s another irritation with the way this election has been run but it shouldn’t stop people from voting. I hope they arrive before polling day.”

UKIP candidate Barry Cooper, who lives in Waddeson in Buckinghamshire, has not received a leaflet either. He said: “There is clearly larger disruption.”

Lib Dem candidate John Howson, from Oxford, received the post last Friday. But he said four Oxford residents had contacted him so far over the missing leaflet.

He said: “With no freepost for candidates, the electoral commission booklet has a key part to play, especially in alerting voters to the fact they can express two preferences for the first time.”

Tory Anthony Stansfeld, from Newbury, said he received his two weeks ago. He said: “I just hope people haven’t thrown it away thinking it is junk mail.”

Independent Patience Awe, from Reading, said she had received hers, adding: “Anyone who has not received it can call up and get it.”

Slough independent Geoff Howard was not available for comment.

Headington resident Tony Turton, 67, of Staunton Road, said he received his, but knew of someone in north Oxford who had not.

He said: “If they haven’t had the leaflet they probably won’t even know there is a second vote option.”

Electoral Commission spokesman Johnny Skillicorn-Aston said: “Although we expect Royal Mail to deliver to 100 per cent of households there are some cases where this may not happen, or some people may accidentally put them in recycling, lose them etc.”

But he said Royal Mail would investigate and results would not be available for about two weeks.

Royal Mail spokesman Adrian Booth said: “As far as we care concerned they have been delivered.”

Read the leafelt at aboutmyvote.co.uk

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