Here is the response I received from our local council today about the spoilt ballot papers.
Thank you for your e-mail of 10 May. I am very sorry that you were unhappy with the arrangements in place to help you vote, although I am confident on the basis both of what you say in your correspondence and what I have been told by the Presiding Officer that your vote and that of your partner will in fact have been perfectly valid and will have been counted. It would not make any difference it they were marked in the middle of the ballot paper rather than in the boxes on the right hand side, so long as the votes were marked clearly on the line of the candidate you wanted to vote for as you describe.
I have, as you requested, looked into this matter and I have contacted the Presiding Officer at your polling station. He is a very experienced and conscientious member of staff who has been the Presiding Officer at this location for a number of elections now. I can confirm that, in common with all of our elections staff, he was fully trained in the use of the template and I am pleased that you were in fact able to use it to vote on this occasion. The Presiding Officer has confirmed to me that the braille flap was correctly placed against the appropriate part of the ballot paper and that you can therefore be reassured that your vote was marked for the candidate of your choice.
I don’t know how he can know this for sure. we both know that our templates weren’t aligned with the right hand side of the paper so they weren’t lined up with the boxes, so how can we know if they were properly aligned vertically. However, it is our word against theirs and they won’t believe us.
However, we can state categorically that the presiding officer did not know that the templates had a self adhesive back. We can also prove categorically that the template wasn’t cut down to size to fit our ballot paper, both of which are stated on the instructions. this makes their stance a bit less credible.
My interview on In Touch wasn’t aired last night unfortunately as David Cameron chose that time to return to Downing Street as newly sworn in prime Minister! However, it will be on the programme next week I believe. I’m still waiting for the article to appear in the Nottingham evening Post.
Finally, the next step will be for me to get hold of a template and reply to the council using the instructions given with the template as pointers.