"Shambolic mess" in Barnet as voters turned away because of lists error

Hundreds of voters have been turned away in Barnet after polling stations were given the wrong electoral registers by the local council.

The error meant that people who turned up early were unable to vote if they had not brought their polling card with them. Polling cards are not officially required to vote and state that they do not have to be brought along.

Some were reportedly in tears at being turned away, while others refused to leave polling stations. There were also reports of long queues.

People were later allowed to vote if they had ID such as a driver's licence or passport.

Barnet Council said updated registers have now been sent out to all polling stations.

Cllr Arjun Mittra, a Labour councillor for the East Finchley ward, called it a "shambolic mess" and accused the council of incompetence.  

"Out of the seven people who came to my polling station in the first 10 minutes, only one was able to vote," he told The Independent.

In a statement, Barnet Council said: "We are aware of problems with our electoral registration lists this morning at polling stations in Barnet, which have meant that a number of people who had not brought their polling card with them were unable to vote.

"We are advising residents to bring their polling cards. If people were unable to vote this morning they are being advised to return if possible later before the stations close at 10pm. We apologise for the problems."

The Electoral Commission said it is aware of the issue.

Barnet's residents are voting in the London mayoral race, London Assembly elections and a council by-election.