Disappointed students turned away from poll for incorrect registration
Students at Keele University and postal voters in Newcastle-Under-Lyme are among those who have been affected by a range of issues.
Hundreds of voters have been beset by registration and postal vote problems, it has emerged.
Students at Keele University and postal voters in Newcastle-Under-Lyme are among those who have been affected by a range of issues, including being turned away from polling stations despite having polling cards with them at the time.
VERY URGENT: from a colleague: I have been alerted to the fact that a great many Keele students are being turned away...Posted by Keele University: Media, Communication & Culture on Thursday, June 8, 2017
In some cases, a number of others who said they registered to vote by the deadline were turned away for not having provided extra information required to confirm their registration.
Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for the marginal seat of Newcastle-Under-Lyme since 2001, has been “working tirelessly” to help resolve the issues, according to his campaign team.
Keele University Biomedical sciences undergraduate, Andrew Niblett, 18, said in his group of five friends who applied to vote in the Newcastle-Under-Lyme area, just one had been correctly registered.
@BBCNews so I went to vote today and got turned away. Registered online and received confirmation email. Happened to many Keele uni students— Andrew Niblett (@andnib) June 8, 2017
Bit late for them to get it sorted I've left the area now! I know at least 50 who couldn't vote today and that's only close friends!— Andrew Niblett (@andnib) June 8, 2017
He said: “I phoned up the electoral office who said it was because I didn’t provide ID when I was prompted, but the thing is I was never prompted to provide ID and also one of my friends, who was prompted, provided ID and it got verified and they still got turned away.”
Mr Niblett said despite complaining to the staff at the polling station that he had not received prompts, he was told: “Next time just check your mail and make sure you go through the process again.”
A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission said they had been in contact with electoral officers in Newcastle-Under-Lyme about what students should do to cast their vote by the 10pm deadline.
We are in contact with the electoral officers in Newcastle-under-Lyme who are responsible for providing updated advice on 1/3— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) June 8, 2017
...on what affected students should do to cast their vote by 10pm. We will be reporting on the administration of the polls 2/3— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) June 8, 2017
...after the election and will consider this issue as part of that process. 3/3— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) June 8, 2017
The chairman of Keele Student Union Council, Tom Snape, 21, said up to 100 students have been in touch about problems so far.
A spokesman for Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council said those affected by out-of-date printed electoral lists at polling stations had been able to vote after polling station staff phoned council offices to verify they were on the register.
However, those affected by other issues had little option at such a late stage in the process.
“Where people haven’t completed the online process, it’s unfortunate, but if they haven’t completed the process they can’t be registered to vote.”
The Council has looked into issues raised as a result of problems being experienced by students at Keele University who have tried to vote.— Newcastle-u-Lyme BC (@NewsNBC) June 8, 2017
Our understanding is that people have not fully completed the registration process and therefore are not registered to vote.— Newcastle-u-Lyme BC (@NewsNBC) June 8, 2017
When forms aren’t completed fully we get back to the person and inform them by letter of what extra information or identification we need.— Newcastle-u-Lyme BC (@NewsNBC) June 8, 2017
If nothing comes back we send a reminder by letter and then also follow that with a second reminder to the address we have been given.— Newcastle-u-Lyme BC (@NewsNBC) June 8, 2017
He added: “We’ve had quite a few people claiming that they’ve not had postal votes but when we’ve looked into it that just hasn’t been the case either.”
There were also problems in other parts of the country, including Guildford, where hundreds of replacement postal votes were issued after complaints residents had not received them.
A spokeswoman for Guildford Council said 276 replacement postal votes had been sent out in the last week.