British voters denied right to vote can claim 750 pounds

Posted by on May 8th, 2010 and filed under Immigration/Law/Rights, International, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

London, May 8 (IANS) Britons denied the right to vote due to chaos at polling booths could be entitled up to 750 pounds compensation each, a lawyer has said.

Voters in at least 14 constituencies in eight cities including London, Sheffield and Birmingham were affected by the chaos.

Long queues formed outside polling stations as returning officers were overwhelmed by the numbers wanting to vote. Several were turned away after queuing for hours.

In some cases, however, returning officers kept the polling booths open in contravention to election rules, The Telegraph reported.

The scenes were ‘unworthy of a mature democracy like ours’, civil rights campaigners said and urged people to take legal action.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, a human rights lawyer, said people could get as much as 750 pounds each in compensation under European law for being denied the right to vote.

He said: ‘They were terribly disappointed, they should all sue.’

Under the 1983 Representation of the People Act, people would have to prove that they lost their right to vote because of a substantial failure to oversee the election.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said: ‘Liberty will use all legal and campaigning means to ensure that this disgrace is never repeated.’

Harriet Harman, the Labour Party deputy leader, said it was likely that several constituency results would be open to legal challenge.

Tory leader David Cameron said he would ‘get to the bottom of what has happened and make sure that never ever happens again’.

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