Postal voters in Gosport are being sent replacement ballot papers for the forthcoming borough council election, following a printing error.

This year, Gosport voters will be choosing candidates in borough council, county council and police commissioner elections.

Rather than attend polling stations on 6 May, almost 10,400 residents have decided to vote by post. They have been sent packs with three ballot papers - one for each of the three elections.

But a printing mistake meant that one of the three ballot papers - the one for Gosport Borough Council - did not have party logos on it, and was therefore not legally valid.

So replacement borough council ballot papers are being sent out. The county and police commissioner ballot papers are valid and not affected.

Local elections are run by an official called the returning officer. The returning officer for the Gosport elections, Graeme Jesty, said: "Unfortunately, the printing error on the borough council ballot paper was not spotted during a final check.

"I'm very sorry for this, and I apologise to postal voters for the error and the inconvenience.

"I also apologise to the borough council and to candidates and their agents, all of whom were informed straight away.

"The mistake is being put right and will not affect the integrity of the election.

"I'm notifying postal voters by text or email where possible. Voters for whom I don't have email address or mobile numbers will get a letter by first-class post, which should arrive on Saturday.

"Replacement ballot papers for the borough council election will be sent out as soon as possible, and should arrive with voters on Tuesday or Wednesday.

"The replacement ballot papers will be on cream-coloured paper, while the incorrect ones were on grey paper. This means it will be absolutely clear that the grey ones are invalid. Any grey ballot papers received will be not be looked at or used, and will be securely destroyed.

"I would like to thank voters, candidates, agents and other colleagues for their patience."

The returning officer is also informing residents of the situation on Gosport Borough Council social media.

If you are a postal voter in Gosport for the forthcoming local elections, please follow this guidance:

  • If you have already filled in your three ballot papers and sent them back, don't worry. The election team will register your votes for the county council (peach/pale orange ballot paper) and the police and crime commissioner (white ballot paper). The incorrect borough council ballot papers (grey) will be not be looked at or used, and will be securely destroyed. You will receive a new, cream-coloured borough council ballot paper soon which you should fill in and send back.
  • If you have received your three ballot papers but not sent them back yet, please throw away the grey borough council one and hold on to the other two (peach/pale orange for the county council and white for the police commissioner). You will receive a new, cream-coloured borough council ballot paper soon. You should fill this in and send it back with the other two (white and peach/pale orange).

A leaflet explaining what to do will be enclosed with the new ballot paper. If you need more information please call 023 9254 5227 or email the elections team.