Lost vote fears as vandals set fire to Kelso post box

Returning officer David Hume gets ready for the election count at Tweedbank.
Returning officer David Hume gets ready for the election count at Tweedbank.
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THE Scottish election at last came alight in the Borders – but not for the right reasons.

On Saturday, a post box in Woodmarket, Kelso, was damaged after being deliberately set on fire by vandals, sparking fears that dozens of postal votes may have been lost.

Postal votes are verified on tuesday prior to election day.

Postal votes are verified on tuesday prior to election day.

And with 5,791 postal votes being sent out in the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency, Scottish Borders Council is appealing for anyone who used the letter box for today’s election vote to get in touch.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “SBC has been made aware of a fire which damaged a post box in Woodmarket, Kelso, on the evening of Saturday, April 30.

“This is of particular concern as SBC’s election team is currently receiving postal votes for the Scottish Parliamentary Election and the UK Referendum on the voting system used to elect MPs to the House of Commons.

“SBC is appealing for anyone who put their postal votes into this post box after 12.30pm on Saturday to contact the local election office on 01835 825005.”

The spokesperson also confirmed that anyone who fears their vote was burnt or lost in the post box fire can still pick up a replacement today from SBC’s headquarters and make their vote at a polling station or Newtown St Boswells.

SBC officials expected a high turnout of postal votes when they launched a reminder last month, with two public holidays for the royal wedding and May Day falling just before the election.

And the authority was proved right, with more than 10 per cent of electors having chosen the letter box over the polling station. Last year’s General Election saw 7,500 postal votes sent out in the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat.

z Electors in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire (ERB) - 54,327;

z Electors in Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale (MTL) - 57,781;

z Postal votes sent out in ERB – 5,791; MTL – 6,785;

z Polling stations in ERB – 98; MTL – 75;

z Total number of ballot boxes over both constituencies – 519;

z Total polling staff – 496;

z Estimated declaration time for constituencies - between 6.30am and 8am tomorrow.