Ukip candidate left off ballot

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Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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A Ukip candidate has been left off ballot papers delivered to a polling station in one of a series of election day glitches.

The name of David Hodgson did not appear on voting papers delivered to the Harrowgate Hill ward in the Darlington constituency in County Durham.

Darlington Borough Council confirmed that 89 ballot papers had been issued without the full list of candidates.

“As soon as the issue was identified, corrected ballot papers were issued to the polling station concerned,” a statement on the council website said, adding that voting was continuing “as normal”.

Ukip said that it would be considering what action to take while Mr Hodgson said that there were “serious questions” for the council to answer.

“How can this have happened? Who is going to take responsibility? And what will be done to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again and no candidate ever finds themselves removed from the ballot paper in future,” he said.

“What is particularly galling is that Darlington Council is not prepared to take responsibility nor offer an apology.”

In Hackney, in east London, it was reported that dozens of residents were unable to vote after their names did not appear on the council’s printed register.

Hackney Council said there had been IT problems relating to voters who had registered using the Government’s online system.

“We know that there has been an issue for some of our voters who used the Government’s online registration system, where they are not appearing on our printed register,” the council said in a statement.

“Nearly all of these have been able to vote after we have resolved their cases on our system. We are working hard to ensure that all those who are eligible are able to vote and we are confident that the vast majority of Hackney residents will be able to vote without any problems.”

A spokeswoman for the council – which covers the constituencies of Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Hackney South and Shoreditch – said that as of Wednesday night it was aware of around 100 voters who had problems, of whom 60 had received help.

It follows previous reports that voters in the borough failed to receive their postal voting forms after the council was overwhelmed with more than 28,000 applications.

A man was arrested in Portsmouth after a fracas at a polling station just after 10.40am.

The 28-year-old was arrested for a public order offence at a polling station at Wimborne Junior School.

According to the Mirror, the man had started arguing with a teller who asked for his registration number, before another voter took offence at the language used and got involved.

Meanwhile, Hounslow Council has apologised after sending many voters to the wrong polling booth.

According to reports around 3,000 people may have been affected by the mix-up, with the wrong address being printed on polling cards.

The council is hand delivering letters to affected voters and is running a shuttle bus service between polling booths in Southville Road and Bedfont Library.

A spokesman said: “We are sorry, but the polling cards for some registered voters living in Bedfont have the wrong polling station details printed on them.

“We are hand delivering letters to those properties that have been affected.

“A free bus shuttle service between the two polling stations will be running until 2.30pm and again from 5pm to 10pm.”

Ukip’s MEP for the North East Jonathan Arnott, who is standing in Easington, said Darlington Borough Council had questions to answer.

He said: “This kind of mistake is unacceptable in a 21st-century democracy.

“For even one voter to be denied the opportunity to choose between all of the candidates at a General Election is appalling.”

Mr Arnott has asked for confirmation that the ballot papers used elsewhere in the constituency were in order; that papers with the missing candidate should be discarded and that people affected can return to the polling station and cast a fresh vote.

He said: “It is a simple matter of democracy.

“The question of how such an error could have occurred is substantial, and should be investigated further in the coming days.”

Published: Thursday 7th May 2015 by The News Editor

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