Mystery surrounds missing local election ballot papers in County Westmeath
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Mystery surrounds missing local election ballot papers in County Westmeath

BALLOT PAPERS from local elections in Co. Westmeath have gone missing in a mysterious turn of events.

The votes never arrived at the count centre in Moate after they were separated from the European election ballot papers and the referendum votes at Athlone Institute of Technology.

They failed to show up by 9pm on Saturday night at which point volunteers and count staff were sent home for the evening and were due to report back at 9am this morning.

As of yet, there has been no confirmation as to whether the missing papers have been located.

Returning Officer Ciaron Martin spoke with Midlands 103’s Head of News, Sinead Hubble last night, saying: “In absence in ballot papers arriving over to me from the Local European Returning Officer, I’ve made the call in fairness to the candidates who are waiting around here and also my staff who are waiting here to adjourn until 9am tomorrow morning.”

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When asked if there was any indication as to why the votes never arrived, he said: “That’s a matter for the Local European Returning Officer.”

County Westmeath has a population of around 86,000 people.

Foul play isn’t suspected for the time being and the votes are expected to be returned and counted later on today.