Three British nationals have told The Local that Deutsche Post did not recognize the prepaid postage on mail-in ballots for the so-called Brexit referendum.
The ballots have been marked with an International Business Response Service (IBRS) stamp, which the UK Electoral Commission assured The Local should mean that the sender pays nothing towards the cost of delivery.
But Jon Worth, a Berlin-based blogger, described on Facebook how he went to send his ballot and was told by postal workers that he would have to pay €3.70 or the envelope wouldn’t reach the UK.
Speaking to The Local via email, Worth said that the problem stemmed from the fact that the ballot envelope is large enough to be considered a Maxibrief (large letter) – a size which requires additional payment.
The IBRS, though, should mean that the postage is free for the sender up to a weight of 50 grams.
But another two Brits living in Germany also confirmed to The Local that they had been forced to pay for extra postage like Worth.
One said that despite him pointing at the “no stamp required” label, the postal worker insisted on the charge.
But the postage problem does not appear to be isolated to Germany. France's postal service La Poste has been forced to inform all of its branches that they must send through the referendum ballots after complaints that voters had been forced to buy extra stamps. Meanwhile Brits in Belgium were also reporting problems.
— Laura Shields (@mediawhizz) June 7, 2016
The Local is not aware of problems in other countries, and spokespeople for the Spanish and Swedish postal services have confirmed to our reporters that ballots posted in those countries would be sent.