The UK media is already declaring “election chaos” following hot on the heels of “travel chaos” and “snow chaos” with regards to a number of people who turned up to vote at the last minute and were unable to cast a vote.
Ironically, were it not for the publication of the pre-emptive Exit Poll commissioned for the BBC, Sky and ITV, votes may have been taken without fear of undue influence until at least 10.45pm. According to the Election Commission guidelines, ballot papers issued before 10pm could have been cast after the Polling Station doors closed.
The main issue is that people should not be allowed to cast their vote after hearing the results of the Exit Poll in case they change their mind. The first actual results are not published until at least 10.45pm from the quickest constituency in Sunderland.
Several factors have influenced the decision of returning officers to turn away voters including a lack of ballot papers, too many people without polling cards (which help to speed up the process) and unexpected numbers of people turning out to vote.
In Sheffield Hallam
The returning officer has apologised “profusely” for turning away voters after people queueing did not make it to the polling booths before the scheduled closing time of 10pm.
The returning officer allowed stragglers to come inside the building and then shut the doors as required at 10pm. In essence people were allowed to vote after 10pm, but were insulated from media coverage.
Would-be voters staged a sit-in and tried to block the ballot box from leaving but eventually left after riot police moved in.
Camberwell and Peckham
Harriet Harman noted that people were still queueing when she left, though those inside the building were allowed to vote.
Update from Solis: the polling station was crowded but all voters were issued with ballot papers before 10pm and within the station, so votes cast after 10pm were legal.
Reports of voters being allowed to vote past 10pm.
Voters turned away from ballot boxes.
Polling booths in Wavertree ran out of ballot papers including stations in Dunbabin Road, Childwall and Dovedale Primary School. Voters were told to return later in the day.
Let us know how your voting went in the comments below.
The Electoral Commission
Ballot papers may not be issued after 10pm, but anyone with a ballot paper before 10pm must be allowed to vote.