Thousands unable to vote in British polls

Posted by on May 7th, 2010 and filed under 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 7 (IANS) Thousands of people in the British general election were unable to vote Thursday night as they were turned away after the polling stations closed.

The British Electoral Commission has launched an urgent inquiry as tens of thousands of people could not cast their ballots after the polling stations were unable to cope with a late surge, Daily mail reported on its web site Friday.

There were chaotic scenes in towns and cities including London, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol as polling stations failed to cope with the high turnout, it said.

The report said that at many polling stations police were called in to remove people who protested when they were not allowed to cast their vote.

There was confusion as staff at some polling stations closed the door in the faces of people who had been queuing for hours and many polling stations ran out of ballot papers, the Daily mail report said.

At some polling stations voters were allowed to vote in past the 10 p.m. deadline.

There were also reports of polling stations distributing wrong papers and names of hundreds of people missing from the electoral rolls.

Conservative leader David Cameron said one of the first tasks of the new government would be ‘to get to the bottom of what has happened and make sure that it never ever happens again’.

A spokesman for incumbent prime minister Gordon Brown said he was ‘very concerned by the reports and would support a thorough investigation into them’.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg had to apologise personally to voters who were unable to vote in his constituency.

A statement by the Electoral Commission said: ‘The Electoral Commission will be undertaking a thorough review of what has happened in those constituencies where people have been unable to vote.’

The report quoted human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson as saying that people who had been denied the right to vote could take legal action.

‘These people have a right to sue. Under the European Convention, you have a right to vote,’ he said.

The report said no British election has been mired in the kind of confusion and disorder that broke out last night since Victorian times, risking international embarrassment.

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