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Election day 2019: Voters leave as large queues reported in some constituencies

Voters have until 10pm on Thursday night to return to their polling stations.

A queue at a polling station in London (@rpate/Twitter)
A queue at a polling station in London (@rpate/Twitter)

By Edd Dracott, PA

Members of the public have been reported leaving before casting their votes due to long queues outside some polling stations.

Waits of more than half an hour were reported at various locations across England on Thursday morning.

Queuing appeared particularly widespread in London, with long lines reported in a number of constituencies.

Chris Schofield said more than 70 voters were waiting in the Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency – some of whom gave up and left during his 20-minute wait, “presumably to go to work”.

“It’s about 20 times busier than it was in 2017, and for the locals and Euro elections,” the 27-year-old consultant told the PA news agency.

“Atmosphere is very London: orderly queueing and no-one is talking to each other!”

Several voters claimed they had never seen queues like it in years.

Asked why he thought there were so many queuing, Mr Schofield said: “I think it’s the election of a lifetime for many of us.”

Alixe Bovey reported queueing for 35 minutes in the Streatham constituency.

“In 20 years of voting in Streatham Hill, always at about this time of day, I have never encountered a queue of more than six or seven people,” she tweeted.

Waits were also reported in English cities such as Cambridge, where John Walsh tweeted to say it was the “first time ever” that he had to queue to exercise his democratic right.

In Bermondsey, south-east London, a burst water main caused deep flooding in the area, leading some voters to decide to leave and return later.

Graham Kings told PA: “I could have gone home and put wellington boots on and waded across the flooded road to try to get in, but had to go to work and so will vote this evening.”

Many members of the public said they were encouraged by the queues, suggesting it could mean a greater turnout than in the last general election.

Total turnout at the 2017 General Election was 68.8%, the fourth successive election where turnout increased.

Voters unable to vote for whatever reason can return to their polling stations at any time before 10pm on Thursday evening.

The Electoral Commission advises polling stations “can get very busy, particularly towards the end of the day”, but says voters in a queue before 10pm will be entitled to apply for a ballot paper.

Voters in England, Scotland and Wales do not need to take anything with them to vote, while those in Northern Ireland must have photo ID.

PA

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