Protests over lost votes from Britain's broken election

Protests over lost votes from Britain's broken election

By staff writers
7 May 2010

Disenfranchised voters across the country have been protesting about being unable to vote in the 2010 General Election, after being turned away late from polling stations.

In Ealing, Hackney, Ladybarn in Withington Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Leeds - among many other places - people have been unable to vote and police called to deal with queues as people struggled to exercise their democratic right before the poll closed at 22.00 BST.

Democracy campaigners around the newly launched 'Take Back Parliament' campaign (http://www.takebackparliament.com/hope) are already talking about "Britain's broken election", and the Electoral Commission have announced a "thorough review".

It is now possible that there will be legal challenges to results in particular constituencies.

The National Union of Students (NUS) tonight condemned election officials after students were turned away from Ranmoor polling station in Liberal Democratic Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency as they attempted to vote.

Students have complained that they were denied the right to vote because of a decision to segregate student voters from other members of the electorate, the latter having been fast-tracked.

Wes Streeting, NUS National President, explained: “Where students and other voters have been disenfranchised, local authorities should hang their heads in shame. It is outrageous that citizens should be denied their basic right to vote and we demand [an] inquiry into how this situation occurred."

He continued: “We are alarmed by reports that students were placed in a separate, slower queue. Students’ unions have worked tirelessly to reverse the trend of low voter turnout amongst students and other young people. What message does this send to first time voters whose votes will not be counted?"

There have also been reports of delays in the key student seats of Manchester Withington, Liverpool Wavertree, Hackney South and Shoreditch, and the City of Chester as students queued to vote in record numbers but faced huge delays and backlogs, including claims that polling stations ran out of ballot papers.

[Ekk/3]

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