back to article UK polling stations turn away 'hundreds' of voters

UK polling stations turned away "hundreds" of voters on Thursday, shutting their doors as people continued to queue for ballots. The BBC reports that police were called to a polling station in Lewisham, south London, where a queue of roughly 300 people had yet to vote when the doors closed at 10pm BST, and that about 200 …


This topic is closed for new posts.


  1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    Demand outstripping supply.

    It's a good thing in all cases except where the supply in question is time. This says a few things though; the first is that Britain’s people were so prepared to take part in their nation's governance that there the polling stations were unprepared. (Alternately; the people planning for these polling stations were incompetent.) The other thing is that it can be considered a reflection on the anger of the populace of these areas towards either the extant government or the proposed replacements.

    In other words: someone got the proles angry enough to actually get off the couch and vote. I can't see this any anything other than a positive development for the whole of the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demand outstripping supply

      "I can't see this any anything other than a positive development for the whole of the UK."

      Not wanting to disagree with the sentiment, and at the risk of fanning all sorts of flames, but only if you have a voting system that proportionately represents the votes cast, i.e. not first-past-the-post. Otherwise, how many people vote can make very little difference to the outcome.

      The best result that could come out of a hung parliament is a demand by the kingmakers to change the voting system. We did it many years ago in NZ, and it isn't perfect, but most people would agree it's much better than what we had.

      (Dons asbestos suit)

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Trouble is

      a chunk of people didn't turn up to vote until very late in the day and then complained that the queue was too long

      1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

        @Richard Drysdall

        I can't disagree with your sentiments. I abhor first-past-the-post, and wish my own government (Canada) would adopt a proportional representation system. Sadly, this would not benefit our local kingmakers at all.

      2. MonkeyBot

        Strange, that...

        It's almost like there was somewhere important that they had to be during the day.

        I think you'll find most votes are cast very early or very late in the day simply because we hold elections on workdays.

        1. BigRedS

          Busy in the day?

          If only there was a way of voting without having to go to the polling station during work. Perhaps by post or something.

          1. Stratman


            The trouble with postal votes (i know, i have one) is that things can happen after the vote has been posted which might make one change one's mind.

            As for those who say the disenfranchised 'should have gone earlier', they're just plain wrong.

            The polling stations are open until 10pm. Anyone who turn up at 9:59 has fulfilled their part of the bargain.

        2. Gerhard Mack

          proportional representation is not as good as you think

          Proportional representation has the side affect of making the public feel more distant from their representative. It' also favors the fringe groups way too much. There is a very good reason the BC constituents soundly rejected the idea twice.

          A much better idea is a runoff between the highest placing candidates if the winner fails to gain more than 50% support. At least that way you don't get vote splitting and it's easier to risk your vote on smaller parties.

          1. Douglas Lowe

            See the French as a bad example...

            ... of runoff's between highest placed candidates.

            This led to left-leaning voters having to vote in Chirac in 2002, after a multiplicity of left-wing candidates in the first round of voting left the two right-wing candidates as marginally in front and so able to go through to the 2nd round (even though the left-wing candidates got well over 50% of the vote between them in the 1st round).

            A far better system would be Single Transferable Vote.

          2. Graham Marsden

            @Gerhard Mack

            PR in the form of Single Transferrable Vote is quite as good as you think, in all those close races where the winning majority was less than the number of votes cast for other candidates, instead of all those other votes being thrown away, those voters' second choice candidate get the votes until someone gets a proper majority.

            It works well in places like the Republic of Ireland and Denmark, it could work here too if people would let it.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          well, if their schedule is really that difficult...

          ... perhaps we should invent a system of postal votes to help out.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        Because they have to work late, pick kids up, might have to rely on public (sic) transport to get them there. The facts are that the retards who organised the polling stations should be publicly flogged. They should also have the payment they receive taken back from them.

        PS, before the flames, any numpty whom decides to turn up at 22:01 deserves to lose their vote.

      4. PsychicMonkey

        well it's alright then!

        what if you have to work for a living, have kids etc?

        The system is flawed. end of.

      5. Paul 4

        So of us work and have kids.

        "a chunk of people didn't turn up to vote until very late in the day and then complained that the queue was too long"

        What, 7pm, after getting home at 6, sorting out the kids dinner (7 year olds don't understand "Mummy and daddy have to vote befor you eat"), and rushing down the the polling station? Dosen't seem to silly to me.

        The problem seems to be that the polls are only open untill 10, which isent that late at all.

      6. Danny 14 Silver badge


        Its a shame we all need to work. And give kids their tea. And bath them.

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Demand outstripping supply

      Since you posted in the small hours and I'm replying on Friday evening, I have the benefit of hindsight, so forgive me, but...

      The overall turnout is almost as low as ever. (Is it the third lowest in history, or something?) So I'm afraid this isn't a positive mobilisation of angry proles. It's just a Great British Cockup. We've managed to combine an antiquated election system with lots of queueing, to produce a national embarrassment.

      I hope the rest of the world is suitably amused. Sometimes I feel that our only remaining role on the world stage is to let our former colonies have the last laugh.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    These are not the polls you are looking for

    Now go about your prole activities...

  3. Chad H.


    Considering the polls in Australia close at what, 5pm? How the heck do people not find an opportunity to vote before 10pm?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Well in the job I has a couple of years ago I was out of the house by 6:30AM and not back until between 6:30 PM and 7:00 PM so if they closed at 5 then I wouldn't be able to vote and if there was a 3 hour queue then I wouldn't have got in before 10PM so it's not always the peoples fault, however I'm guessing that a vast number of the people in the 3 hours queue could have gone during the day but put it off till late just to annoy everyone else.....

    2. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

      Different laws.

      I can't speak to Australia, but in Canada it is our law that you must be given time off work in order to vote on an election day.

    3. Gareth Pye

      Thursday V Saturday

      Voting on the weekend makes it easier for most people to reach a polling venue during business hours, doing it on a week day makes it harder for many workers.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Does Australia have a national holiday or something? Because I was out of the house at 7:00am to go to work, and was back at around 6:00pm. And no, I couldn't have voted during my non existent lunch or whatever.

      Besides, given it should take about 5 or 10 minutes to get in and vote, it's not unreasonable to arrive 30 minutes before doors close.

    5. Oz

      Re: Huh?

      They did - just so did lots of other people, hence the 3 hour queues!

      (The Welcome mat - because they weren't!)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        2 words...

        postal vote

      2. Anonymous John


        Well in that case, you could have asked for a postal or proxy vote.

        One report claimed that many of the ones not able to vote, were students without poll cards. There's always a risk in waiting until the l;ast minute.

    6. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      Australia, cleverly one might say, hold elections on a weekend (usually a saturday). That way, 90% of people are in the clear. Additionally, if your supposed to be working that day, by law your boss has to allow you time off on that day to go and vote.

      Remember in Australia by law we have to vote (you get a $50 fine if you dont!), so we have to make the effort to get off the couch and go to the polling station!

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      RE: Huh?

      "Considering the polls in Australia close at what, 5pm? How the heck do people not find an opportunity to vote before 10pm?"

      I leave the house at 7.30am, as do alot of other people, and get back at 6pm, as do alot of other people (Infact I see the same people on the way home as I do on the way). Oddly enough I though it would be fine not rushing out first thing and going after I had got home, sorted myself out, had a bit of dinner, and sorted the kids out, buy which time it is 7ish. Not that late, but too late in some areas.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. PT


    ... there were sufficient ballot papers available in Redditch.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Steven 1
    Thumb Up


    Regardless of what happens that put a smile on my face when I heard that this morning :)

  9. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Trust to Royal Mail

    ..everyone has the option of a postal vote. Of course there's a slight risk of electoral fraud but on balance probably no worse than with a ballot box. I voted last week.

  10. OzBob

    Want lower queues for Elections?

    Either a) Make it a Saturday or b) Make it a mid-week Bank Holiday. I seem to recall most of the world votes on a weekend to ensure turnout is adequate.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In today's day and age. don't we have on-line voting as well? we have on-line everything else and this would surely allow more to vote.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Well, a shame or a sham really.

  13. Tom Adair

    Some people...

    One of the complaining non-voters interviewed on the beeb was saying she'd gone past the polling station at 6, 7 and 8pm, and not joined the queue then, but only gone down at 9:15pm... so really it was her own fault for not realising that the queue was sizeable enough to require her to go down earlier!

    On the other hand better communication between polling stations could have enabled election officials to ask some people to go to other nearby polling stations that were less busy, as you can vote at any polling station in your constituency, though you really need to take your voting card with you as only your local polling station may have you on their list. Perhaps the voting card should be a requirement considering the problems allegedly caused by a number of students in Sheffield turning up without theirs, so long as there is a provision in case you lose yours or it never turns up in the post.

  14. neil hanvey

    postal vote?

    if they wanted to vote so much why didn't they get a bit more organised and vote by post?

    1. Code Monkey

      Govt IT Project

      That would require a UK Government IT project (i.e. a hugely expensive clusterfuck waiting to happen).

      Big Brother

      Here's one reason why...

      Because in the UK a company like British Telecom can illegally monitor, interfere with, and sell the content of our confidential and private online data communications to a bunch of spyware crooks... and the Police/CPS will not arrest, charge, prosecute, or imprison one single person.

      Now, imagine that happening to your vote in a supposedly secret election?

      BT can spot that you voted for party X, rewrite your vote for party X as one for party Y, and tell party Y that you are a traitor to the cause of national fascism.

      I hope it will never happen in my lifetime.

  15. Mike 102

    discrimination at polling station

    In relation to Sheffield the Beeb are only really reporting part of the story.

    The queue there was split into students and non-students.

    The non-students were allowed to jump the queue ahead of the students.

    Blatant discrimination.

    1. Code Monkey


      Was it really split into student/non-student or people with/without polling cards that happened to split that way?

      Students want to vote? Then they can register the same as real people can.

    2. Rob

      Or was it more like...

      ... they we're prepared to let people vote who were actually organised and had a high chance of bringing their poll card with them, rather than lazy lastminute people who usually can be classed as students.

      1. Mike 102

        It wasn't done on polling card or not...

        and even if it was it would still be incorrect. Polling cards are not mandatory. The students were all registered...

      2. Mike 102

        no, it was nothing to do with being prepared..

        it was apparently done largely on if you looked like a student/were of a student age.... complete abuse of process...

        1. Mark O

          Looked like a student?

          If you look like a student you shouldn't be allowed to vote.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Something in these stories smells a little bit rotten.

    The polls have been closing at 22:00 for a long time now and we haven't had people almost rioting before. Possibly because most people know that if you turn up late you may not get in. That then is their problem, not the polling station officers.

    It is fairly easy for an agitator to stir up trouble in a queue of people, (whether that queue be for a cinema a chip shop of a general election) especially when those people are trying to figure out some way of removing the blame (for being late) from themselves. It's very easy to say _THEY_ closed the doors, _THEY_ didn't let me vote, rather than if _I'd_ not watched <insert mind killing soap here> then _I'd_ have had plenty of time to vote and have a pint afterward.

    And yes, I did my bit to ruin the country, after leaving my home at 06:10 and returning at 19:30. I still found time to get my polling card, though that isn't necessary, & go and vote. It depends on your own personal priorities.

    1. Mike 102

      some people were queuing for

      some people were queuing for 4 hours!! on that basis you would not have been able to vote..

      it also fairly easy for people to talk nonsense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Four hour queue


    2. Mark O


      Criticising _THOSE_ who didn't get a chance to vote makes you sound like an old fart indulging in a nice moaning session. If it were you that missed out then you'd probably by uppercasing about how you were disenfranchised.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019