Returning Officer calls for Royal Mail to conclude their investigation into late delivery of some postal votes

Polling stations shut their doors at 10pm on Thursday 4 May, legally bringing an end to people being allowed to vote. However, Royal Mail delivered 1,423 postal ballot packs on the Friday morning at 8am which by law couldn’t be counted.  

Will Tuckley, Interim Chief Executive and Returning Officer for Brighton & Hove City Council has called on Royal Mail bosses to finalise their investigation into the late delivery of these postal votes comprising 4.6% of those issued and received. 

In a strongly worded letter sent to Royal Mail bosses several weeks ago, the Deputy Returning Officer, Michael Appleford, stated: “We would like this matter investigated and for the importance of delivering election mail reiterated to the local teams.  

“We are extremely disappointed with the service we have received from the Gatwick and Hove operational teams.  

“We have also raised this issue with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Electoral Commission.”   

With no outcome received, the Returning Officer is now calling for Royal Mail to complete their investigation and confirm when they received the packs delivered on Friday 5 May.  

Will Tuckley said: “The Returning Officer counted all ballot papers returned by 10pm on polling day. It is concerning to receive packs after the close of poll. Royal Mail must swiftly conclude their investigation so we can understand when they were posted and should have been delivered.  

"It is possible that these postal votes were placed in post boxes across the city on polling day and therefore would not have been received by the deadline. However, we need certainty.  

“We are aware that other local authorities in the South East had other issues with Royal Mail delivering poll cards and postal voting packs. It is essential that Royal Mail’s leadership understand the importance of their service in the delivery of elections.”