Plymouth postal ballot papers go missing

Vote Image copyright PA
Image caption Both the council and Royal Mail said they were "urgently investigating" as the general election looms

Hundreds of postal vote papers for the general election have gone missing in Plymouth.

Around 580 ballot papers issued by the city council have gone missing, said BBC South West's political correspondent Martyn Oates.

Both the local authority and Royal Mail have launched "urgent investigations".

The council covers three constituencies including two marginal seats won by the Conservatives at the last general election.

It has issued 370 replacement postal vote packs to those who have contacted it as polling looms on Thursday.

A council spokeswoman said: "We have issued all postal vote packs in accordance with the regulations and this has been confirmed by our printers.

"However, we have been contacted by people who have not yet received their packs. We are urgently investigating this in conjunction with the Royal Mail."

Special delivery

A Royal Mail spokeswoman added: "We are aware that a number of postal votes in Plymouth have not arrived with recipients. Royal Mail takes its responsibility of delivering election information very seriously and is investigating this matter urgently.

"We are currently working closely with the council to organise specific deliveries so that the individuals affected receive their ballot packs as soon as possible."

The council said anyone who had not received their postal vote pack should call 01752 304866 or 01752 304936.

It has offered to send them out on same-day special delivery. People can also collect packs in person at the council house between 14:00 BST and 21:00 on Tuesday and between 08:00 and 21:00 BST on Wednesday.

Martyn Oates said: "In the case of Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, it's the most marginal seat in the South West and the Tories held onto it with just over 500 votes last time so, clearly, quite aside from the issue of people being entitled to vote and not being able to in terms of political outcomes it could be quite significant."

On polling day, the council can issue replacement postal vote packs from 08:00 until 17:00 BST and votes must be received by 22:00.

The Electoral Commission said it was "satisfied with the steps being taken to rectify any problems".

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