The council has responded after claims postal votes in parts of East Lancashire have not been received, meaning some people may be unable have their say in time for the General Election on Thursday (July 4).

A spokesperson for Pendle Council said it has received “a substantial number of reports of postal ballot packs not being delivered”. A Blackburn MP also said she was aware of delivery delays across the borough.

Speaking to a local radio station one woman from Clitheroe said she is unable to vote because her postal ballot didn’t arrive before her holiday. She applied to vote by post before the deadline but said it didn’t come in time.

She said: “I am gobsmacked that there isn’t a better system in place or that there isn’t a fast track with Royal Mail to get these packs out.

“According to them it was posted first class last Monday and it’s arrived a full seven days after it was posted.

“Even if I were at home if it’s taken that long to deliver it then how long will it take for us to post it back?”

A spokesperson for Pendle Council speaking on behalf of the Pendle and Clitheroe constituency, said the number of replacement ballot packs is “no higher” than anticipated at a general election.

A spokesperson said: “At the end of last week/beginning of this week Pendle Borough Council received a substantial number of reports of postal ballot packs not being delivered but this has now reduced significantly.

“So far 49 electors in the Pendle and Clitheroe constituency have applied for a replacement ballot pack. This is no higher than would be anticipated at a General Election. Out of 15,893 postal votes issued this is 0.30 per cent”.

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern also received reports of missing postal votes.

She said: “It has been brought to my attention from several residents that there have been delays with the delivery of postal votes across the constituency. I am aware of similar delays across the country.

“I have had it confirmed from Blackburn with Darwen Council that all postal votes should have now been delivered.

“If you have not yet received your postal vote or need further support, please contact the council elections team at or 01254 585920”.

A spokesperson for Blackburn with Darwen Council said two-thirds of postal voters in Blackburn have sent their votes back adding that it is "not a significant issue in Blackburn and Darwen".

They told anyone who receives their postal pack today to drop it off at Blackburn Town Hall or any polling station.

A spokesperson said: "Already around two-thirds of postal voters in the Blackburn parliamentary constituency have sent back their votes.

"If you have only just received your postal vote pack today – or if it arrives on Thursday – you can still get it to us in time to be counted.

"You can drop off completed postal votes at Blackburn Town Hall before 4.45pm today and tomorrow or any polling station in Blackburn before 10pm on election day.

"Please be aware that when you drop off a postal vote, rather than sending it back in the post, you will have to sign a declaration form.

"Also, new rules introduced this year mean you can now only hand in up to five postal votes, plus your own.

"Postal voters in the Blackburn constituency who still haven’t received their postal voting packs can contact our elections team for replacements. Call 01254 585920 ASAP.

"Replacement postal voting packs need to be collected from Blackburn Town Hall before 5pm today.

"Completed postal votes for the Blackburn constituency can be handed in at Blackburn Town Hall before 5pm today, or at any Blackburn polling station before 10pm today"

"We know that there are concerns nationally about postal voting packs not being delivered, but we believe this is not a significant issue in Blackburn and Darwen.

"However we will look into reports of postal vote packs not being delivered."

Rossendale Borough Council is handling postal votes in the Rossendale and Darwen parliamentary constituencies.

Voters in this constituency can take completed postal votes to Rossendale Borough Council offices in Bacup, or polling stations in these five Darwen wards before 10pm on Thursday:

  • Blackburn South & Lower Darwen
  • Darwen East
  • Darwen South
  • Darwen West
  • West Pennine. 

A spokesperson for Burnley Council and Ribble Valley Council said there have been no reports of delays in the area.

A spokesperson for Hyndburn Council said, “We have received a few reports of delays in the postal vote process, but not significantly more than in any other election. In cases in which we have received reports, we have re-issued postal ballot papers.”

Rossendale Council has also been approached for comment.

Royal Mail has hit back at criticism from a Government minister over reports of delays to postal vote delivery, insisting there is “no backlog” ahead of the General Election.

Kevin Hollinrake was said to be “urgently” investigating a failure to get ballot packs to people in some constituencies in time for polling day on Thursday.

He suggested Royal Mail should have anticipated extra demand for postal votes during the summer holidays amid fears some could be left disenfranchised by the issues because they are already overseas.

But in a statement issued on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the service said: “We have no backlog of postal votes and, whilst we are not complacent, we remain confident that postal votes handed to us on time will be delivered prior to polling day.

“Where specific concerns have been raised, we have investigated and confirmed ballot packs are being delivered as soon as they arrive in our network.

“We would welcome a review into the timetable for future elections with all stakeholders to ensure that the system for printing and administering postal votes before they are handed to Royal Mail works as smoothly as possible.”

Local councils are responsible for sending postal ballot forms to voters.

Completed postal votes must have reached councils by 10pm on polling day.

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Councils and electoral staff across the country have been doing their utmost to ensure the smooth running of this election and that people can vote.”

They added: “We are aware of reports of incidents where delays have happened. The postal vote system could benefit from review and more could be done to support Royal Mail and printers to be ready to deliver elections.”