Stoke & Staffordshire

Newcastle-under-Lyme: Probe into election voting issues

Newcastle-under-Lyme Council Image copyright Google
Image caption Students are among those who have complained about being unable to vote

An investigation has been launched after constituents complained they were unable to vote in the general election.

The Association of Electoral Administrators is investigating the vote in Newcastle-under-Lyme, which Labour's Paul Farrelly won by 30 votes.

Complainants said some postal votes had not been issued and there were problems joining the Electoral Register online.

Returning officer John Sellgren said the probe would highlight "any shortcomings" in the voting process.

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On the day of the election, students from Keele University reported turning up to polling stations and being told their "names were not on the list".

'Shambles'

Tom Snape, chairman of the Keele Students Union said he had taken at least 140 complaints from students about the problems.

"There are thoughts of a general problem with the council being able to handle the number of voters," he said.

Mr Farrelly described the issues on polling day as a "shambles".

Mr Sellgren, also Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council's chief executive, said: "We have commissioned the most suitably qualified organisation in the country to investigate the issues....and to determine whether there were any shortcomings in relation to the conduct of the election.

"We are hopeful the association can start its work immediately and produce their report as soon as possible.

"In the report we have asked them to set out the details of the investigation undertaken, comment on the matters investigated and come forward with any recommendations for action."

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: "We welcome this review and will support it in any way we can.

"We will be reporting on the administration of the polls in due course."

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