Pensioner, 95, gives major update after being told she couldn't vote in General Election

Jean Hughes was told she can't have a postal vote
-Credit: (Image: LancsLive)

An elderly woman was left "really upset" when she was told she would be unable to vote in the General Election for the first time in her life.

Jean Hughes from Darwen was born in the same year that women were given equal voting rights to men - 1928. Jean has never had a problem voting, in either local or general elections, having seen in an incredible 20 different prime ministers.

But this year Jean, of Aysgarth Drive, was forced to apply for a proxy vote due to her mobility issues. She submitted an application to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council ahead of the local elections in May but was told her records couldn't be traced.


"I was really upset," Jean, 95, told LancsLive. "I thought I was going mad because I gave them my National Insurance number and date of birth but they said they couldn't find it."

Unfortunately, Jean missed out on her democratic right in the local elections, but her plight was brought to the attention of LancsLive as the upcoming General Election loomed.

"I've had no problems up until now," Jean said earlier this month. "I worked from the age of 14 and they never had any problems taking tax from me!"

In order to apply for a postal or proxy vote, a voter needs to supply their name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number. These are available to those who are unable to reach a polling station on polling day.

LancsLive contacted Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council as well as HMRC due to some confusion over Jean's NI number. The number, assigned to an individual for life, consists of a two-letter prefix followed by six numbers and a one letter suffix.

Jean, who worked as a screen printer at the ROF factory in Lower Darwen until she retired aged 66, received a letter from HMRC after they had confirmed her official NI number.

A spokesperson for the council said that while they couldn't comment on individual cases they would contact Jean directly. And this week, with just days to go until polling day, Jean is now in possession of her proxy vote.

"It was so funny because after you'd written the story about me it was like I was some kind of star," Jean said. "My grandson said 'you're on t'internet gran!' which made us all laugh.

"I'm just glad it's been sorted. They said it could have been something to do with the fact that my official first name is Margarita but everyone calls me Jean.

"I injured my left hand really badly and can't use it to write anymore so I have to use my right. Sometimes I sign my name Jean but for official things I have to use Margarita so it could be that I'd signed 'Jean'."