Voters turned away from polling stations in UK general elections

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Orderly voting in Hackney early yesterday
Image: Alex Lee.

Scores of polling stations in the United Kingdom have been unable to cope with one of the highest voter turn outs in thirty years, leaving thousands of voters unable to cast their vote in yesterday's general election.

Police had to intervene in Heeley, Hackney, and Islington when angry voters refused to leave after the 10.00pm deadline. Elsewhere voters were turned away before ten when polling stations ran out of ballot papers. A late surge in voter registrations also saw hundreds of voters eligible to vote but unable to because electoral rolls had not been updated.

The Electoral Commission sets national standards for elections, and promised an inquiry into elections where people were unable to vote.

The returning officer of each constituency is legally independent and is personally responsible for the local conduct of the election. Returning officers are appointed and funded by local authorities.


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