Darlington Borough Council admits ballot paper mishap

Darlington Borough Council has admitted that a candidate was missed off the ballot paper in a Darlington constituency.

The problem arose after a UKIP candidate was missing from ballot papers at a polling station in the Harrowgate Hill ward.

The mishap affected 89 votes that were already cast.

Rumours circulated on social media that voting would have to be suspended. However, Darlington Borough Council confirmed that this was not true and that residents should “continue to vote as normal”.

A full statement from Darlington Borough Council read: “Voting in the general and local elections is continuing as normal in Darlington but that the name of one candidate, David Hodgson (UKIP)  had been missed off  ballot papers issued to one polling station in the borough.

“Approximately  89 ballot papers (0.1% of the total number of ballot papers printed)  had been issued, but as  soon as the issue was identified, corrected ballot papers were issued to the polling station concerned.”

David Hodgson responded: “Whilst the error was rectified after a number of people contacted UKIP to complain that my name was not on the ballot paper, there are serious questions to answer at the council.

“How can this have happened? Who is going to take responsibility? And what will be done to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again and no candidate ever finds themselves removed from the ballot paper in future?”

He added: “What is particularly galling is that Darlington Council is not prepared to take responsibility nor offer an apology.”

In an updated statement, Darlington Borough Council said: “The guillotine of the ballot papers for the Darlington constituency was set in error for the size of the ballot paper for Sedgefield constituency and therefore the last candidate was cut off the paper. This was not picked up by us in our checking process.”

The results of the elections in Darlington can be found here.

David Wriglesworth
University of Lincoln graduate and self-confessed social media addict David Wriglesworth is the founder of What's on Darlington. In his spare time, you’ll find him avoiding the gym and tagging his friends in memes on Facebook.