Voting issues: Wrong advice and woman loses ‘last vote’

    Voting issues: Wrong advice and woman loses ‘last vote’

    Image caption, Flora Kelsey said she had voted in every election since she turned 21

    A 98-year-old woman says she has lost what may be her last chance to vote after being turned away from a polling station.

    Flora Kelsey, from Corstorphine in Edinburgh, was among those who did not receive their postal vote packs and did not feel she was able to make the journey to the emergency centre set up to tackle the problem.

    Meanwhile Glasgow City Council has had to reassure voters their ballots will still be counted after incorrect advice was spotted at a polling station.

    Posters at Notre Dame primary school told people to number their chosen candidates in order of preference, using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, rather than marking a single “X” under the first-past-the-post system.

    Ms Kelsey has participated in every UK election in her lifetime since turning 21.

    After her postal vote failed to arrive, she visited her local polling station, Corstorphine Library, accompanied by her grandson George.

    An emergency unit at Edinburgh City Chambers was set up by the council last weekend in response to concern over postal votes not arriving in time – it closed at 17:00.

    However Ms Kelsey said she was unable to make the journey into the city centre.

    After phoning the council for advice her grandson was told to apply for an emergency proxy vote.

    He said: “I filled the form in, we brought it along and we’ve just been told that doesn’t work.”

    BBC Scotland News understands that as Ms Kelsey was already registered for a postal vote, she could not also then have a proxy vote given to her.

    Ms Kelsey said that she felt she ought to vote but added: “I just feel my hands are tied, I don’t know what to do now”.

    Paul Lawrence, the returning officer for Edinburgh, said the situation was “regrettable”.

    He added: “In the last week we’ve been doing everything we can to make sure as many people as possible are able to exercise their democratic right to vote in this general election.

    “Our emergency postal votes facility has been in place since last Friday morning and has provided replacement packs to hundreds of residents.”

    ‘No one disenfranchised’

    Glasgow City Council told BBC News that a “few” voters in the Glasgow West constituency had seen incorrect advice at the Notre Dame primary polling station, which was taken down quickly.

    It is not known whether anyone followed the advice.

    The council said that ballots would still be counted and that whoever has a “1” next to their name on the ballot paper will receive the vote.

    A concerned constituent contacted BBC Scotland after discovering the issue, and said she feared the mistake could affect a close race if votes were disqualified as a result.

    The STV system is used for Scottish Parliament and council elections.

    A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council stated: “The error was spotted very soon after the polling station opened and after the first few voters entered. It was replaced with the correct information.

    “No one has been disenfranchised as the first preference will be taken from the ballot paper.”

    Chris Highcock, secretary to the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, confirmed the votes would be counted.

    He said: “On a paper marked with numbers the clear preference would be for the candidate numbered 1.”

    Reporting from Corstorphine by local democracy reporter Donald Turvill.

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