Wigan council by-election to go ahead despite postworkers' strike
A Wigan by-election will go ahead as planned this week, in spite of strike action by Royal Mail workers possibly stopping some postal votes getting through.
Ashton residents go to the polls on Thursday December 15 as political candidates vie for the seat that was tragically vacated by the death of the 51-year-old Labour councillor Anthony Sykes in September.
In what are thought to be unprecedented circumstances for Wigan, postal workers are taking industrial action on the day before the vote and the day itself.
It has led some to question whether a fair vote can take place if some people have already posted their papers and they might now only arrive after the polls have closed.
But Wigan Council has announced that the election will proceed and told people to return postal votes to Wigan Town Hall up to polling day and to polling stations on the day at Stubshaw Cross Methodist Church, Bolton Road, the Salvation Army base on Chapel Street and St Thomas’s Church Hall on Warrington Road.
The count will take place at Wigan Town Hall on Thursday with the result expected to be announced before midnight.
A local authority spokesperson said: “The statutory issuing of both poll cards and postal vote packs has taken place for the residents of Ashton ward.
“Wigan Council has been working alongside Royal Mail to minimise disruption.
“If anyone is still in possession of their postal vote packs, we would urge ward residents to return them to Wigan Town Hall today (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday.
“Or, they can be handed in at polling stations on election day.
“Polling stations are open 7am to 10pm on Thursday.”
But one source said: “If people sent their votes by post the other day (maybe from a long distance away if they’re on holiday) how can it be guaranteed that they will arrive in time?
"And it’s all very well putting stuff on social media for voters, but not everyone is on social media. Ashton has a lot of older voters and they may be oblivious to the call to hand in the postal votes.
"And maybe they aren’t mobile enough to get to the polling stations. After all that might be the reason they were using postal votes in the first place.”