Woman’s anger over postal vote ‘mix up’

Fabia Jones Russell

Fabia Jones Russell - Credit: Archant

A student has slammed Hackney Council after losing her right to vote by post – despite claiming she submitted two applications over as many months.

Fabia Jones Russell said town hall staff told her there had been a “large backlog” after her second application went awry, although the council has denied any delays.

The 24-year-old student from Denver Road, Stamford Hill, sent off her first application to vote by post two months ago as she will be in Mexico on May 7.

Because her sister had a problem with the postal voting system in the 2010 – as reported in the Gazette at the time – she made sure she followed up on her application.

But the council told her the application had not been received and another form was sent out, which she received 10 days later.

Despite sending back the form within 24 hours, she then received a polling card in the post on April 13 rather than a postal vote form.

She got back on the phone straight away and another form was sent out, but she said it arrived on Tuesday last week – the deadline day for applications.

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Ms Jones Russell said: “I was told that despite staff in the back office working weekends as well as weekdays there was a large backlog so no one could confirm or deny receiving my postal vote request. I am disenfranchised and deeply upset.

“If I had only sent one request through I would happily accept that it was potentially an issue with Royal Mail and let this lie.

“However, based on their dealings with my sister and the fact that I sent two to them I can only see this as another demonstration of their inability to process data in an effective way.

“My worry is they are going to stop a huge proportion of electorate being able to contribute, if one assumes that many young people in the New River ward will be at university or travelling during this time, will none of them be able to get their voices heard?”

A Hackney Council spokesman denied there had been a backlog in processing postal votes and said no application had been received from Ms Jones Russell.

He continued: “We have received a large number of requests for a postal vote with around 26,000 voters across Hackney confirmed as voting by this method to date.”