Some Doncaster voters drew genitalia on their EU election ballot papers in protest at Brexit delay

Several residents casting their ballots in the EU election back in May drew pictures on their voting papers in protest, election officials at Doncaster Council have said.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 12:29 pm
Updated Monday, 15th July 2019, 12:15 pm
Ballot paper: Stock

Trina Barber, head of electoral services, said some voters had written statements and doodled ‘interesting’ pictures on postal and ballot votes at a meeting of the elections and democratic structures committee.

Monitoring officer Scott Fawcus said some people had done this expressing their frustration at the delay to Brexit but added he was surprised at the ‘small percentage’ of those spoiled were that abusive or crude.

He said someone had written the word ‘quizling’ and another ‘plague on your houses’ on ballot papers.

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Referring to other elections, Conservative councillor Nick Allen who represents Bessacarr, said one voter stapled a picture of fictional Star Wars film character Yoda on their ballot paper.

Doncaster turnout in this election was recorded at 30.87 per cent below the Yorkshire & Humber average of 33 per cent.

Trina Barber, head of electoral services said 642 postal votes were rejected because they either didn’t match signatures or put down the wrong date of birth.

Mr Fawcus said: “Of those spoilt ballot papers, it was actually a small percentage of those spoils that were crude considering the debate that’s going on nationally about why we had to do this and the rest of it - I expected to see more.”

Ms Barber added: “Of the spoils it was clear they were not getting confused by the ballot paper for voting for more than party for example.”

In response to a question from Hexthorpe Labour councillor Sue Wilkinson, Ms Barber said the council were ‘not aware’ of EU nationals being turned away from the polling station as reported elsewhere in the country.

She said the council had written to around 10,000 EU nationals born outside of the UK ‘very quickly’ informing people of the second form they needed to fill in.

Election officials were well prepared for an upcoming vote due to the delay in carrying out Brexit with places booked from February.

“We weren’t scheduled to have this election but we have a great team and we had contingency plans in place and had already provisionally booked polling stations and venues before we had official confirmation,” Ms Barber said.

“The election went really well, we had a good count and got good feedback.”