Arun apologises for printing error in vote letter

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ARUN District Council has today (Wednesday, November 26) ‘apologised unreservedly’ after it sent a misleading letter on voting registration to thousands of people.

Residents across the Gazette area, from Climping, Ford and Angmering, have complained about the correspondence, which had a confusing printing error on it.

The document, which was sent out to just under 65 per cent of those on the electoral register – about 75,000 people, was meant to check whether or not people wished to be part of the open register – where their details could be sold onto other companies.

Provided on the letter was meant to be a get-out clause for those who did not wish to be part of this open register – previously known as the edited register.

However, instead there was an application to sign up for the scheme which prompted anger from among a number of Gazette readers.

Sonia Welbourne, of Hammond Close, Angmering, was one those of those who received the letter.

She said: “I don’t know if this is a mistake or a con. I’m forever plagued by people doing nuisance calls. I would say I get between three and ten a week. I also get these on my mobile.

“The last thing I want is more of them.”

Liz Futcher, Arun’s deputy electoral registration officer, said Arun has taken quick steps to rectify the problem.

“This error was made by an external printing supplier who has taken full responsibility for the mistake,” she explained. “I would like to reassure residents that we have acted quickly to remedy the situation by providing consistent messages to electors who phone the helpline listed in the letter and those who visit us at Arun Civic Centre in Littlehampton or Bognor Regis Town Hall to explain that they can still use the box provided on the letter by amending the wording so it reads ‘remove’ or they can write or email in their request that their details be removed from the open register, providing their full name and address.

“We would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to residents for any confusion caused by this error.”

Removing details from the open register does not affect the right to vote. For information, call Arun’s helpline on 01903 737616 or email elections@arun.gov.uk