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Cherwell District Council (19 018 267)

Category : Other Categories > Elections and electoral register

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 19 Feb 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms X’s complaint about not receiving a postal vote as he has no legal remit to investigate the organisation of elections.

The complaint

  1. Ms X complains she was unable to vote in the general election as the Council failed to send her a postal vote.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint where the body complained about is not responsible for the issue being raised. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(1), as amended)
  3. Returning Officers for elections act in their own capacity, not as officers of a local authority. (Representation of the People Act 1983, sections 23(2))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered what Ms X said in her complaint.

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What I found

  1. Ms X complains she was not able to vote in the general election because the Council failed to send her a postal vote.

Assessment

  1. Elections are organised by Returning Officers who perform this role in a personal capacity and not on behalf of councils. We therefore have no legal remit to investigate a complaint about the organisation of elections.

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Final decision

  1. My decision is that the Ombudsman cannot investigate Ms X’s complaint as he has no legal remit to investigate a problem relating to the organisation of an election.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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