Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Calls for Change in Laws on Voting; as Details of Historic Coalition Deal Are: Revealed Calls Are Made for Reform of Laws on Voting

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Calls for Change in Laws on Voting; as Details of Historic Coalition Deal Are: Revealed Calls Are Made for Reform of Laws on Voting

Article excerpt

Byline: ADRIAN PEARSON

A WATCHDOG has revealed seven people were unable to vote in the General Election after being turned away from polling stations in Newcastle.

A report by the Electoral Commission has now called for a change in the law to prevent an election night fiasco happening again.

Their report looked at 16 constituencies across the country where 1,200 people were turned away.

The watchdog said a large last-minute turnout on May 6 meant seven people were turned away in Gosforth.

Three polling stations in the Newcastle North and Newcastle East constituencies still had queues at 10pm - Heaton Community Centre, Jesmond Church Hall and Gosforth temporary polling station.

The report went on: "Presiding Officers did not report the anticipated problems in dealing with the queues until after 9pm (in the case of Heaton, at 9.50pm).

"The doors of these three stations were closed at 10pm, the decision having been taken to admit as many queuing electors as was safe. Approximately 100 electors were admitted to the Jesmond polling station, 300 to Heaton Community Centre and, due to its size, three to the temporary station in Gosforth."

Across the country, 1,200 potential voters were denied the chance to have their say.

The Electoral Commission hit out at "inadequate" planning and criticised returning officers for not responding quickly enough when backlogs built up at polling stations such as Heaton and Jesmond.

At least 1,200 people were left queuing in 16 parliamentary constituencies across the country when the polls officially closed at 10pm, according to an interim report. The chairman of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, said the problems on election night - which have been condemned by politicians from all parties - had been "unacceptable".

"Our review found that some people who arrived before polls closed were unable to vote because returning officers did not have discretion to let them vote after 10pm," she said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.