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Close of Polls (Voting)

Volume 512: debated on Tuesday 22 June 2010

10. What recent representations the Electoral Commission has received on issuing ballot papers to voters who arrive at polling stations before the time specified for the close of polls at a general election. (3396)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has received representations from voters, candidates, political parties, returning officers, Members of Parliament and professional bodies regarding queues at some polling stations on 6 May. In its urgent report published two weeks ago after the general election, the commission identified a total of 27 polling stations in 16 constituencies where it was able to confirm that there were problems with queues at the close of the poll.

Will the hon. Gentleman ask his Committee to write urgently to the Ministers responsible, so that we can put right the legislation that currently prevents people who turn up to vote in time from being able to do so? That could and ought to be done this year, and with the Committee’s support it will be.

It is certainly the view of the Electoral Commission that the matter can in part be put right through a change in the law. The commission is encouraging the Government to introduce appropriate primary legislation.