Ramsey Town Council postal votes to be re-issued after error links independent candidate to Ukip

Councillor Doug McIlwain with the voting papers printed wrong,

Councillor Doug McIlwain with the voting papers printed wrong, - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of postal votes are being re-distributed after a printing error indicated a candidate seeking election was standing for Ukip rather than as an independent.

Doug McIlwain, of Ramsey Heights, hopes to win a seat on Ramsey Town Council as an independent but when he received his ballot paper this week, it had a UKIP symbol against his name.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I am not happy to be associated with Ukip.

“How many people will already have put their crosses in boxes and sent them back?”

He immediately sought answers from Huntingdonshire District Council, which is responsible for sending the postal votes.

“I understand the district council has a lot to do, but this is important,” added Mr McIlwain. “It could cost me votes.

“For people who get paid so much, they should not be making such silly mistakes.”

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Mr McIlwain, who is also seeking election as a town councillor in Huntingdon, but as a Tory, added: “I feel I have so much to give, I could do two councils.

“People might think I am being two faced by standing as an independent in one and a Conservative in another, but Ramsey has always been independent and Huntingdon has been a political party-based system.”

Jo Lancaster, electoral registration officer for HDC, said: “Just over 600 postal ballot papers have been issued, but we have arranged to have these re-printed and then re-issued. This is an unfortunate error, but the matter will be rectified in time for the poll to continue.”

The council’s elections team will be writing to all residents who will have received these ballot papers to explain the error and to confirm that a new paper will be issued to them as soon as possible.

Mr McIlwain agreed re-sending the postal votes was the fairest thing to do, but did not think the cost of postage and HDC officer time should be borne by the taxpayer. “They (HDC) have wasted that money,” he said.