Berkshire

Council apology over Slough polling card errors

Council bosses have apologised after sending almost 8,000 polling cards to residents with mistakes on them.

Errors were spotted on maps showing the wrong building where votes can be cast in some Slough wards on 5 May.

The Labour-run council apologised and said letters would be sent to those living in parts of Central, Wexham Lea and Chalvey with correct details.

The Conservatives called the error "gross incompetence". The BILLD group said it could "disenfranchise" voters.

'Financial pressure'

Though the station names are correct the maps show the wrong building where votes can be cast.

New signs will be put up around the area to make sure locations are clear.

The council said it would pick up the postal costs.

The first mistakes were noticed earlier this week, with the council admitting a total of 7,799 cards had been affected.

Candidates and agents have also been informed.

Councillor Peter Dale-Gough, leader of the Conservative group, said: "I think it shows gross incompetence on the part of the council.

"When they are making cuts you would think they would be very careful not to make mistakes like this."

'Significant cost'

Councillor David Munkley, leader of the BILLD group - a coalition made up of Britwell Independents, the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats - said: "It's disenfranchising the voters.

"Hopefully the council is going to avoid that but only at a significant cost and we all know the pressure the council is under. It can't afford to incur costs by shooting itself in the foot."

Councillor Rob Anderson, Labour leader of the council, said: "This error is regrettable, however the council has picked it up early enough to rectify.

"Our priority is that electors can exercise their democratic right, and our swift actions will ensure this remains the case."

Ruth Bagley, returning officer for the local elections, said new measures would be put in place to ensure the error would not happen again.

"We can only apologise for the confusion this second problem may cause residents when they receive a letter in addition to their poll card but we want to ensure voters have the correct maps to show them where their polling station is."

Fourteen councillors out of 41 are up for election.

Slough has an electorate of 90,039.

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