The chaotic queuing seen at some polling stations at the 2010 general election will not be repeated this time around, the head of the Electoral Commission has said. Jenny Watson said there was now a “safety valve” that meant people in a queue as polls closed could still vote. More than 1,200 people were left queuing as polls closed at 22:00 on election night in 2010. Police were called to deal with angry voters who had been turned away. Voters in Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, parts of London and Surrey were affected.
A subsequent report by the Electoral Commission blamed the problems at 27 polling stations in 16 constituencies on “poor planning, the use of unsuitable buildings, inadequate staffing arrangements and the failure of contingency plans”.
Giving evidence to MPs, Ms Watson said the “safety valve” had already been used in local elections.