You may be interested in my story of trying to vote in the most important issue in our lives. It is now 15 June and only a few days from the UK going to the polling stations to vote in the referendum. Both my husband and myself, after each of us having worked for 45 years in the UK, decided on retirement to come and live in Majorca. This was three and a half years ago with no hint of a referendum in sight. We have full health care and residencia here. As soon as the referendum was called we immediately applied for a postal vote for our past electoral address which is under Durham County Council. We had an email confirmation that we were both registered and a postal vote was in place.
No voting papers have arrived. I have made four phone calls to the electoral section of Durham County Council. I was told on the first call that the overseas voting papers had been sent out and would arrive in due course. The second call, I was again told the same and would have them very soon. My third call on 7 June was to the Senior Electoral Officer in charge of overseas postal votes who told me that it had been brought to their attention that there have been some issues with the postal ballot papers for overseas destinations.
The ballot papers were handed to Royal Mail on Monday 23 May and it would appear that no one has received their papers as yet. DCC have launched an investigation into this matter and in the meantime they have manually re-issued them from the office and we should receive them by Friday 10th June. (This information was also backed up by an email to me.)
Well, here we are on Wednesday 15 June, eight days away from a referendum which could completely change our lives and we are being denied the chance to have some influence on the outcome. I have again rang to speak to the Senior Electoral Officer who is unfortunately not in the office and no one else is able to deal with my problem. They have taken my telephone number with a promise she will ring me back. However, I am still waiting.
Thank you for listening to my rant.
Further to Ms. Susan Mackay’s letter yesterday I also registered for a postal vote in 2014 from Central Scotland, as we spend some months here in Pollensa every summer and therefore our mail is re-directed from Scotland. My papers never arrived but I received, out-of-the-blue, a letter from a "Depute ERO" to the effect that he believed that we lived abroad and therefore were not entitled to vote.
He then required from me proof that I was "carrying on business of life" in Strathblane, Scotland. I assured him that I paid tax there and could show utility bills to prove that I lived there. This apparently did not satisfy the condition of "carrying on business of life" and I was threatened with removal from the electoral register and the possibility that, if so, I might have "future credit rating difficulties".
I then contacted our MP, Bruce Crawford, who could not believe the story until I sent him the complete correspondence.
He then proceeded to straighten things out and I eventually received a letter from this famous Depute ERO to say that matters had been resolved.
What was discovered, in the middle of this saga, is that for a reason, probably best known by the late Sir Humphrey, Electoral Papers by law (or rules of the Post Office) may not be re-directed and this little known ordinance had triggered the whole matter.
The net result is that this year we neither voted in the Scottish elections nor the forthcoming referendum as there would not be time to alter the Postal Vote addresses in time to enable the process to be expedited.
Yours (practically disenfranchised)
In response to Stan Jessops comments about cruises, has he ever been on one?
Living in Majorca we get to a ship on Tuesday am, we live in Can Pastilla so about 20 minutes, then we sail at 11pm and from then on it’s a week to do what you want.
Shows, casino, quizzes, pools, karaoke, drinks and endless food. Every day a different place: in our case Huelva, Gibraltar, Tangiers, Almeria and Alicante.
Don’t forget you don’t have to get off. His comments about queing for food, we have never had this problem. Stan, each to their own. Try it, you never know: all for a 100 euros a day each.
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