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Jan Hadaway from Coxheath misses out on vote in Maidstone Borough Council and European elections

By Claire McWethy

A Maidstone woman is unable to vote for the first time in more than 40 years this week, after a mix-up with her postal vote.

And in an ironic twist of fate, Jan Hadaway’s partner Michael Webb did receive one - even though he did not request it.

The 61-year-old, of Westerhill Road, says she called Maidstone Borough Council around a fortnight ago to request to vote in the local and European elections by post because she would be abroad on polling day, tomorrow.

Jan Hadaway has not been sent a postal vote, pictured with partner Michael Webb
Jan Hadaway has not been sent a postal vote, pictured with partner Michael Webb

But by the time she realised the form had not arrived, it was too late to register.

She said: “My vote is very important to me because I do care what goes on. I had been looking out for it but was away for a week until last Friday. When I arrived home and it had still not arrived my partner called the council again but was told it was too late.

“I always vote and have never been away during an election before so I would never normally consider a postal vote. I’m really cross about it because

they have stopped me from voting, but my hands are tied.”

Mr Michael added: “I applied for a postal vote two or three years ago but for some reason I’ve been sent one automatically every year since, so I didn’t apply.”

She was not alone according to cllr Brian Mortimer, who helped to arrange a last minute proxy vote for another Coxheath resident who had not received her postal vote application form in time despite two phone calls to the council.

He said: “It is not the point that I’m worried we are missing Lib Dem votes, it is that people are losing their right to vote. If two people have been affected in this ward then how many more have had the same experience. It is very concerning.”

A Maidstone Borough Council spokesman said: “We work hard to make sure that all completed applications for postal and proxy votes submitted by the deadline are processed in time for elections. Election law is very strict about deadlines to ensure the integrity of the process, and we do not have any flexibility with this.”

Have you been affected by problems registering for a postal vote? Call the news desk on 01622 695666.

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