Police investigate postal vote complaints

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Indy Politics

The prospect of extending postal voting at the next general election appeared to recede last night after new claims of irregularities in this month's local elections.

The prospect of extending postal voting at the next general election appeared to recede last night after new claims of irregularities in this month's local elections.

Channel 4 News revealed that police were investigating complaints after 984 postal votes were issued in unusual circumstances in the Pendle Borough Council election in Lancashire.

The votes, issued for four marginal wards on the knife-edge council, were sent to "common addresses" in the local area, which were not the addresses of the electors concerned.

In one case, 61 votes for Bradley ward in Pendle were sent to two terraced houses several miles away in Rochdale. In Whitefield ward, 49 votes were sent to one address alone. Most of the votes were sent to votes from the Asian community.

The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves, an agent for the party in Pendle, raised the issued with the returning officer after some electors said they had not voted even though ballots had been filled in their name. Sam Younger, chairman of the Electoral Commission, said it would look at the allegations as part of its review into the postal voting experiments.

In a separate development, ministers are said to have decided to stop using their powers to order councils to hold referendums on elected mayors. Labour's failure in four out of the seven mayoral elections held on 2 May has persuaded the Government to pull back from the project for several months.

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