1. ITV Report

Overseas postal votes from Durham re-issued after batch 'goes missing'

A polling card and voting guide for the 2016 EU referendum Photo: PA

Hundreds of overseas postal votes for the upcoming EU referendum have gone missing, but a local authority has reassured electors they will not miss out.

Durham County Council said 457 packs sent abroad for ex-pats or people on holiday did not arrive, having been lost after being printed but before they were delivered.

The local authority was contacted by overseas electors when the original packs did not arrive, and on June 6 it despatched a fresh batch of papers.

The council expected that would still give enough time for postal votes to be received around the world and sent back to be counted before polls close on June 23.

The original voting packs have been invalidated and the council said steps were

in place to make sure people could not vote twice, should the original papers turn up.

Colette Longbottom, referendum counting officer at Durham County Council, said:

Following an internal investigation, we concluded that the ballot packs had been printed and issued as planned by our external contractors, but had not been delivered to the recipients.

To mitigate, on Tuesday 7 June we took the decision to invalidate the batch of overseas elector postal ballot packs that had been issued on 23 May and re-issued fresh packs.

We understand that some of these packs have now been delivered and that the rest should follow in the coming days.

– Colette Longbottom

The police and the Electoral Commission has been informed.

The 457 overseas packs are a small part of the 86,216 postal votes issued across County Durham, which has an electorate of 388,000.