DARLINGTON Borough Council has become aware of an issue that has affected some voters who have registered to vote by post in the May elections.

The council has received a number of calls from people who have registered to vote by post advising us that they have received duplicate postal vote packs.

Investigations have revealed the problem concerns the despatch of postal votes to 370 voters.

This group of voters are from all parts of the borough, what they appear to have in common is the period when they registered for a postal vote. It looks like the printers sent out duplicate postal voting packs by mistake. We are writing to the 370 voters to advise them of the problem.

As with most local authorities in the region election materials are printed by an external company with experience in producing election material. This includes the production and despatch of postal vote packs to voters. We have been liaising with the printers to clarify what has gone wrong and will be seeking to work with the printers on this.

Please can you let us know if you have received the duplicate pack, so we can follow this up. It would be helpful if you can send the duplicate back to the Town Hall – in an envelope marked Duplicate PV.

If you have received a duplicate postal vote, you must not use it to vote more than once in the same election. It is an offence to vote more than once at the same election. We have measures in place to detect if anyone tries to vote more than once.

If you have not received your postal vote, please contact us. If you have received your postal vote but are not confident that you can post it back in time, then the completed postal vote envelope can be dropped off, by you or someone on your behalf, to the Town Hall any day up and including polling day or any polling station between 7am and 10pm on polling day (Thursday 6 May).

The contact details for the Election team is 01325 406444 or email elections@darlington.gov.uk. We will be working over the bank holiday weekend and you can call us from 9am-5pm.

Luke Swinhoe, the Returning Officer for Darlington Borough Council said: “I am very sorry that this situation has arisen and for the concerns that it will create. If you have received a duplicate postal vote, please let us know. Similarly, if you have not yet received your postal vote please let us know.

“We will be contactable over the Bank Holiday weekend, by phone or email. We have screening measures in place to ensure the integrity of the election which will identify if anyone attempts to vote more than once in the same election.”