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Problems at polling stations: We want to hear from voters

The Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog, is calling for voters affected by problems at polling stations on Thursday to contact them to as part of a review of the issue.  

The information will be used to inform a review on the queues that some voters experienced at polling stations, with reports of hundreds of voters unable to cast their ballots before polls closed at 10pm.

Jenny Watson, Chair of the Electoral Commission, said:

“Casting a vote on election day is one of the most important things we do in a democracy, and people will rightly be upset and angry if they were unable to do this.  Whilst millions cast their vote without difficulties, we share the concern of all those that missed out.”

“We will obviously be talking to Returning Officers.  But we want to hear from voters who experienced problems on polling day – whether they were unable to cast their votes, or encountered any other difficulties.

“This will help us identify what went wrong and what needs to change so it never happens again.”

The terms of reference for the review are to:

  • Establish the extent and nature of the problems experienced by voters on polling day
  • Consider the planning and management by local Returning Officers – the people responsible for running elections - before polling day
  • Consider the general management by Returning Officers during polling day
  • Consider the specific responses adopted by Returning Officers to problems they encountered on polling day
  • Consider the impact of guidance, advice or support provided by the Electoral  Commission prior to and during polling day
  • Identify any factors common to the range of issues that arose at polling stations
  • Identify any factors unique to problems in particular areas

The Commission aims to publish the interim report by the end of next week at the earliest.  It will identify what further work needs to be done to ensure this does not happen again. The interim report on these specific issues will be followed up by a full report on all aspects of how the election was run, to be published in July.

Ends/

Notes to editors

  • Returning Officers are responsible for running elections
  • To help ensure the experiences of voters are properly reflected in  the review we would like comments in writing
  • Voters should use our online form as soon as possible about any problems they experienced or write to:  Public Information, The Electoral Commission, Trevelyan House, Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2HW
  • We are asking voters to include:  the name of the constituency in which they voted, the times they arrived at the polling station, the location of their polling station, any problems they encountered when trying to cast their vote
  • Note that different arrangements are in place in Northern Ireland and the focus of the review is Great Britain

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