Ballot box

Electoral Commission strongly criticise UK Government over lack of bilingaul ballot papers.

The Electoral Commission has published its report on the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, held last November.

One of the strong criticisms made by the Electoral Commission was the way the Government failed to ensure that the necessary legislation passed through Parliament for Local Returning Officers in Wales to produce bilingual ballot papers for postal votes.

The Government recognised that they were at fault and provided additional funding to cover the cost of printing both bilingual and English only ballot papers so that ballot papers could be issued on time.

The Government failed to act to ensure that the necessary secondary legislation was agreed early on despite the issue being raised by Welsh Labour MPs, including Wayne David, the Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, and David Hanson, the Shadow Minister for Policing. As the Electoral Commission’s report makes clear, the Commission were also urging the Government to take action.

Wayne David said, “The problem seems to have been these elections were in the hands of the Home Office. We repeatedly told the Home Office that secondary legislation was needed for bilingual ballot papers, but they argued that legislation was not needed for such ballot papers. They were wrong and we were right, and they recognised the error of their ways very late in the day – yet another Government cock-up, which has cost taxpayers over £130,000, and has resulted in thousands of ballot papers being pulped.”

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