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A scandal

Nick Robinson | 00:15 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

Voters locked out of polling stations, ballot papers running out, scuffles inside polling stations, sit-ins, the police called, some able to vote after 10pm while others were blocked from doing so.

What a tragedy that, after a campaign which engaged and energised many who were previously cynical about politics, tonight's story may be being over-shadowed by the extraordinary revelation that Britain cannot competently run the most basic part of the democratic process.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Hanging chads anyone?

    I'm not sure why this is a surprise, bureaucratic incompetence has become embedded in local AND national politics, and that's from the point of view of an often-frustrated local government officer.

  • Comment number 2.

    Simply embarrassing. We'd done the hard bit in getting people interested - and now much of that work has been undone.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry Nick, but staying in the pub until 9pm is the real problem.

  • Comment number 4.

    Nick. Could all this news of voters being unable to participate, despite registering to vote and being in the right place at the right time, mean a fresh election?

  • Comment number 5.

    Assuming most postal votes have been cast for labour and the labour share in postal votes being bigger than in polling stations voting, labour would have had an interest in slowing procedures down. Hence commentators should check whether especially in tight labour seats people have been denied a vote as the polls shut at 10.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nick, I gather Weybridge also has a problem with voters being turned away

  • Comment number 7.

    I voted about 7ish (Hackney South & Shoreditch)- never seen it so busy- there were 3 ballot papers, General, Local & Directly -elected mayor, a possible total of 6 crosses- can't have helped matters!

  • Comment number 8.

    Nick, what saddens me as much is that some people clearly can't organise their day to take better advantage of the 15 hours in which their polling station will have been open. Insufficient ballot papers is one thing; failing to effectively plan one's day is another.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a former Party Agent I have to say that it would appear that a move to Sunday voting is in order. I think there will be a number of challenges to the results in this election, although I don't think people being turned away at 10.00pm have a case. The incident of insufficient ballot papers is rather different.

  • Comment number 10.

    Utterly disgusting - totally shameful. A cynic might argue that even a departing government cannot organise an elegant exit. It is far more serious than that. If the public service cannot even manage a general election every four or five years, what hope do the elected rpresentatives have?

  • Comment number 11.

    Look, you can do two things at once!

  • Comment number 12.

    Mental mess in many places but most polling stations have 3 people working there, they can't adapt on the fly.

    But how many of these people could have voted earlier on but didn't? That was their fault! There was a woman who was interviewed earlier who said she went past after work, then at 7 and 8 and 9. Why didn't she just get into the queue? Why shouldn't she do what everyone else was doing?

  • Comment number 13.

    The electoral commission must cancel this vote and call a new election!

  • Comment number 14.

    It does seem wrong that voters would be turned away at closing time. In the US, the normal procedure is that voters who arrive at a polling place before closing will be allowed to vote.

  • Comment number 15.

    Remember there were problems during the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2007 - Douglas Alexander was the culprit then.

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm watching this election on the BBC website from Australia. Seeing all the drama over people not being able to vote because of pure stuff ups, I'm so glad that voting is compulsory for all people in Australia.

  • Comment number 17.

    looks like the fix is in!

  • Comment number 18.

    The 'irate' people unable to vote who are being interviewed by the BBC strike me as a little too prepared in their language to me. Reports of large groups of 'students' turning up without voting cards and slowing the process down suggest a bit of deliberate, funded sabotage, too. This is surely a conspiracy to aid the introduction of Diebold's 'reliable' voting machines...

  • Comment number 19.

    Despite the lack of a plan to cope with a traditional last minute surge at the polling stations I am more worried that the media and polling organisations are reporting surges in support which aren't actually there.

  • Comment number 20.

    There are many things that Britain cannot competently run, such as its own economy, the railways etc and that's why this election was so important.

    So it is indeed a shame that the election itself cannot be run competently; a symptom of the problem, what more proof is required that serious, fundamental changes are needed urgently?

  • Comment number 21.

    With all due respect, almost all those interviewed on TV have said they went to the poll earlier, saw a queue and left to come back later. If they'd stayed they'd have got to vote. More to the point, it's very clear that the polling station is only open to 22:00 so people should plan to get their WELL in advance.

    That being said there's also a requirement for a sufficient number of people and booths and for basic organization to be up to the task. Running out of ballots is criminal and not having a simple, clear and consistent response to say what happened to those who did not have a ballot in hand at 22:00 is almost beyond belief.

  • Comment number 22.

    Marking votes with a PENCIL. I voted today at my local polling station in Ewloe, to which i marked my ballot paper with a pencil for the MP i wish to lead this area. Isn't it odd that they provided not just Ewloe but other local polling stations with a PENCIL to cast the votes. Couldn't these be rubbed out and changed? Causing the votting to be rigged?

  • Comment number 23.

    If thousands have been unable to vote then it is possible that the ballots in these areas could be considered to have been illegal, especially as the action taken by the poll clerks in each area has been inconsistent. What then?

    One thing is clear, even if the Tories do win this election by an outright majority - and this is still possible given that we have 649 by-elections taking place with all manner of permutations - can they be said to have a mandate if such widespread voting irregularities have taken place?

  • Comment number 24.

    Rather embarrassing! :-/

  • Comment number 25.

    Simple solution - get there earlier or get a postal vote.

  • Comment number 26.

    There doesn't seem to be any information on why these people were unable to vote, was it because they turned up late, or because the polling stations could not cope with the sheer numbers?

  • Comment number 27.

    embarresed to think what the rest of the world are thinking and saying about the Great British voting system and organisation.Shambolic of the highest order

  • Comment number 28.

    hi know this is maybe a stupid thing to say....but how on earth can we let MP Tesssa Jowell get away with saying botox....ref...joan collins. Typical of what Labour are all about, this is typical of the women in the Labour Govt. She should be ashamed! this must be mentioned, come on!!!! x Take care and love your blogs..x Jayne from Wiltshire.

  • Comment number 29.

    It seems that our Katherine Harris from Florida is in charge of voting.

  • Comment number 30.

    Perhaps it is more of an indictment of British society that people are more concerned with events in Albert Square than casting their vote.

    Polling Stations open at 7am so maybe they should have got up earlier and voted before going to work, college, uni, dole office etc and not left it to the last minute.

  • Comment number 31.

    This is a scandal. The electoral commission is rightly saying that there will be a thorough review, yet if the results are close in areas where people were denied a vote it could bring real difficulty. With a strong possibility of a hung Parliament, uncertainty as to the legitimacy of some results could be crippling.
    Although I believe that a hung Parliament would be beneficial if the parties take it maturely, uncertain results would throw a massive spanner in the works of British democracy.

  • Comment number 32.

    How can so much be put forward on these people not being able to vote. At 8:30 this morning there were no queues at my polling station, therefore is this whole thing a stage managed aproach. Its like the none elected lord Mandelson defending it?

  • Comment number 33.

    Having only left the UK in January I was surprised how much interest there is in NZ about the UK elections. The UK being the father of democratic elections is now being shown in a bad light with all the things that are going wrong. How the world will laugh at you, as it surely will, when after the final result comes in the back stabbing and appeals will start. Thank goodness I am watching from afar.

  • Comment number 34.

    The really sad thing is this this is neither a "revelation" nor "extraordinary". The UK's much-vaunted democratic process has been deeply undermined over the past decade.

  • Comment number 35.

    It is even more tragic that some people were destined to be denied their democratic right even before the polling stations opened. Blackburn with Darwen Electoral Registration Office failed to even create a correct list. I was taken off the register by "mistake." That's a pretty undemocratic mistake.

  • Comment number 36.

    I saw a caravan as a polling station on the tv earlier, how can they possibly usher all queuing voters inside before 10pm?!

  • Comment number 37.

    It's not just the chaos at the polling stations. Three of my children who are away from home applied for postal votes and not a single one got their pack in time to vote.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am appalled by the voters who have been turned away from voting, not because they did not get the chance to vote but because they had 15 hours in which to cast their vote and did not do so in that time. There are people in this country who may work 15 hours and therefore do not have that chance, but how many people decided to leave it to the last minute even though they could have voted earlier in the day. The lady who was interviewed on BBC TV tonight said that she went to vote at 6pm and saw a queue so left, and then again at 7pm, and at 8pm. She made the choice not to wait and queue to cast her vote, and she made that choice 3 times, and yet when the doors closed and she had not voted she blamed the returning officer. People in this country should stop blaming everyone else and should start taking responsibility for their own decisions.

  • Comment number 39.

    It seems a shame that the enthusiasm of voters - ill focussed as it may be, with late arrivals and people arriving without polling cards - is being dissipated and restricted by an inflexible and badly organised system. Contingency plans, and sufficient voting forms, should really have been factored into organisation. We're in danger of engendering only further cynicism in the public...

  • Comment number 40.

    Postal votes were a complete shambles as well: Kensington and chelsea sent theirs out with the wrong instructions!

  • Comment number 41.

    Nick, it's the British way. Get tanked up at the pub before voting. It's the same at every football ground. Kick off 15:00, turn up at 14:55 expecting to get in.

  • Comment number 42.

    I posted an application form to vote by proxy from Argentina a month ago but 2 days ago Haringey council said they had no record of my request to vote by proxy. After further enquiries I learnt that post from Buenos Aires had been delayed & backlogged due to cancelled flights because of the volcanic ash cloud, but the Electoral Services officer said there was no way I could now register as I had 'missed the deadline', despite being on the electoral roll. They were unwilling to accept the exceptional circumstances, even though you can register last minute in the event of a medical emergency. How many other postal votes have been lost because of this situation?

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    I think this story should shadow the election results tonight- With these issues, it wasn't a fair election, and that should be made clear.

    It is a real shame, that in this day and age, after all the effort the suffragettes put in for the right for woman to vote, that this has happened (to everyone).

    I hope that everyone in this position is sitting in, stopping ballot boxes going out, and chaining themselves to things, past history demonstrates that without that nothing will change.

    The resources should have been in place so that 100% of people could vote, 83% of people voted in 1950, and I am not aware that was ever a problem.

    The woman at the polling station I went to, took 10 minutes to register that the boy in front of me had his flat mates polling card, and they had already voted. There were 2 other people there dealing with the voters, yet I was made to wait, a queue then built up behind me. The people in the polling stations should have been aware of the need to get people through. Thats common sense.

  • Comment number 46.

    Cumon Nick. We have voted like this for decades. What is it with this Nation? They have 15 hours, postal votes, proxy votes etc. This is ridiculous. I operated on a patient at midnight and at 7.30 this am (am cardiologist treating heart attacks and I got my vote in. Is this some Twitter or Facebook conspiracy/joke? How depressing it is to be British. I would rather be in Athens.

  • Comment number 47.

    How come the BBC is so far behind ITV in the number of seats declared? Aren't you using the same data? At 12.40 it was 5 against 12. Will have to change sides.

  • Comment number 48.


    I was delighted to see you conspicuously angry on TV. Go for them!

  • Comment number 49.

    What a shame that engernised TV debate only leads to superficial polls...looks like the same old regime will be in place

    Voters had from 7am to 10pm to vote...the early worm catches the ballot paper -->

  • Comment number 50.

    This would appear to extend a Judge's description of Birmingham's postal voting system in a previous election as like that of a banana republic to other places where people have been unable to vote in person at this election.

    What a shambles and what will happen if the result in these places is close ?

    The bleating of one such electoral officer that people hadnt brought their cards is disgraceful, the card is not part of the election law and procedure.

    It took over five minutes for the polling staff to find my entry in a little village. They did not appear to understand what they were doing even when I told them that the register is in alphabetic road order and I could read my neighbours names upside down as they flicked the same pages again and again. I was asked irrelevant questions such as is it just you are are there relatives there with the same name !!!!!

    Also can someone tell me why the Presiding Officer no longer puts the official mark on each paper as it is issued.

    Oh what fun if loads of constituencies have to be re-balloted.

  • Comment number 51.

    So a few people have been denied a ballot paper; this is a tiny scandal compared to the majority of voters who were given worthless ballot papers because outside the marginals your vote has no effect.

    We desperately need a government that can claim majority popular support - we know that will not happen: it can't, the system will not allow it.

  • Comment number 52.

    There doesn't seem to have been a consistent policy - in some places people were locked in, whilst in other places people (my husband included) were locked out when in touching distance of the ballot box.

    I feel sorry for the staff working - they must have had an awful evening and potentially scary for those returning officers who had to call for police assistance. However, it is not acceptable for people to say that we should have turned up earlier - if only life were that simple(!) - if voting is advertised until 10pm it should be possible to turn up at any point up to that time.

    Let's hope some lessons are learned.

  • Comment number 53.

    Next time, maybe we can get Zimbabwe to send observers.

    This was a simple farce.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    Why cannot the BBC keep up with ITV on recording seats declared? BBC still show 3 LAb seats ITV 8??!!

  • Comment number 56.

    What a sham!! It's just a conspiracy to get the voting system changed!

  • Comment number 57.

    I have full sympathy with people who have tried to vote today but their polling station ran out of ballot papers, but unfortunately no sympathy for those who were still queuing at closing time. THE POLLING STATIONS OPENED AT 7AM!! Get out of bed and vote, there was no queue then.

  • Comment number 58.

    HI NIck,
    The Lady from the electorial commission was corect. Please check out this link. It is the "Official" Electorial Commissions "powerpoint Presentation" UK briefing for UK Polling ststion staff. PLease look at slide numbers 20 & 21, the notes clarly say what the polling station staff are to do at 10pm. Regards Chris Brown.Other people may like to take a look.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 59.

    Personally I never received anything to allow me to vote, not had a single leaflet from any party through the door or anything. If I'd not caught this evening's News I wouldn't have even know it was today!

  • Comment number 60.

    when i voted in the last general election there was 6 to 8 of the hastily erected little cubicles ths time there was 2 could this downsize have caused some of the problems if this trend was followed elsewhere,

  • Comment number 61.

    People who don't know Facebook have done a count on who voted and at 12:45am is 1954311

  • Comment number 62.

    I am writing this email because I have been a resident in Newham borough in London for the last 2 years and I had my name on the electoral register.But when I went today in the polling station my name was not on the list.And more frustratingly it's not only me, my other 5 housemates name were not there as well.Just wondering what has happened then??Is it that the register in the polling stations hasn't been updated??whose fault is it??

  • Comment number 63.

    Voters not being able to vote is not "a scandal" as David Dimbleby is suggesting - that's what the MPs who fiddled their expenses were involved in. Everyone registered to vote would have received a registration card clearly stating the opening and closing times of their polling station, so no real excuse for turning up late and then wondering why they couldn't vote.

  • Comment number 64.

    Surely they should be prepared for a 100% turnout! Full turnout may never happen, but is it too much to ask that capacity for above and beyond any expected or possible forecast for voting numbers too ensure our democracy?

    Joshua, Birmingham

  • Comment number 65.

    What right of redress do the voters have who have lost their votes ?.

  • Comment number 66.

    Perhaps we should have had 'independent' moderators here from Iran, I wonder what they would have said and if the election would have gone better.

    In the constituency where the UKIP guy died, their election is being run three weeks later. Would it have really hurt to close the line at 10pm and keep the polling stations open until everyone had voted that got in the line in time.

    The incompetence of our electoral officials to also think on their feet beggars belief.

  • Comment number 67.

    Hi Nick,

    I think you are one of the best political commentators on TV, your take on politics are just spot on. I am a 47 year old man who has just voted for the first time. I can tell you that I voted for Charles Kennedy, here in my home town Fort William. Why did I vote for him, simply because he is a good MP in this area of Lochaber and I can, for the first time, agree with the wider policies also.

    How can we trust those who are counting the votes and are doing the job properly? Also, if Gordon Brown does not win his seat does this mean he is instantly no longer Prime Minister?

    Many thanks Nick
    Eddie McDonald
    Fort William

  • Comment number 68.

    Run out of Ballot papers??
    Doors closing at 10pm even though people are waiting patiently to vote??
    This is the worlds oldest running democracy and now has almost deteriorated into something little better than Iran
    Not good

  • Comment number 69.

    I have been an Officer at Polling Stations many times. There is ample time for people to vote over 15 hours. There is always someone waiting to vote just before the Station opens and always someone who rolls up and knocks on the door after closing time. I think people expect to do what they want to do when they want to do it. There can be no excuse for such hysteria - staff at Polling Stations can become 'institutionalised' after 13 (Local elections)or 15 hours. They cannot work longer hours and the idea that staff can be replaced would create a bureaucratic melt-down. Tell the voters to get real and organise their lives properly. It's ridiculous. Also, please refrain from interviewing people in the BBC 'bash', who are being entertained too well.

  • Comment number 70.

    Nick I've just emailed you my details I can give you inside information as to how this mess has occurred, and an even bigger bombshell as to how the ballot boxes are open to abuse.

  • Comment number 71.

    Just been watching the live coverage - asking myself why on earth anyone's giving Joan Collins or any of these silly 'celebrities' so much coverage? Who really cares what they think? Most of them seem particularly inebriated.

  • Comment number 72.

    This is not a new situation. In the 2004 election, I was living in Hong Kong and was effectively denied my vote by the simple act of distributing the postal ballot papers too late to return them in time. I suspect that millions of expat voters were similarly denied their democratic right.
    I am an airline pilot and took the precaution of registering for a proxy vote, in the event that the ash cloud might keep me out of the country today. However, in this day and age it must be possible to have a system that allows people to register their vote by modern, secure means from wherever they might be at voting time.
    Greg Monaghan

  • Comment number 73.

    After years of rhetoric about low voter turn-out, finally, when people actually try to vote, they are turned away at the gates. I have lived all over the world, currently in the Netherlands, and can confirm David Dimbleby's observation that this is third-world behaviour. Not, of course, forgetting that the third-world often has the excuses of poverty and dictatorship to account for such a truly outrageous and scandalous approach. The UK does not. The polling stations should, indeed, MUST within reason, stay open till every voter has cast their vote. How dare the officers remark that people should come earlier. People have lives to live. I can truly say that I have never been so ashamed of my political system. This even tops the financial crisis scandal for me. God help us with politics, I fear.

  • Comment number 74.

    What an embarrasing farce! Will the UN be called in to oversee future elections? Surely the polling stations should be allowed to remain open until midnight at least?

  • Comment number 75.

    Absolutely shocking!! Had this happened in the third world Britain would would be disgusted and call for an annulment. This debacle makes a mockery of democracy. This is third world politics at its most abhorant. The system has lost all credibility.

  • Comment number 76.

    Is there any reason to belive that the voting queues in certain constituencies all of which seem to have a similar political leaning has an organised basis. I.E an organised group has deliberatly arrived late to cause this problem??

  • Comment number 77.

    At 1am ITV is on 25 results, the BBC on 12? Wake up!

  • Comment number 78.

    Why are people moaning about not being able to vote?

    The doors to any supermarket closes promptly, everyone knows what time they close. So what do they do, they turn up early to sho rather thna being turned away. Same for pubs, order a drink after 11:00pm in most pubs, they'll say sorry, too late. So why expect any difference when voting, Law says close the doors at 10:00pm...what is so difficult to understand about this?

    It is not the returning officers fault, it is the fault of those that turn up late yet expect to vote. Talk about shirking ones responsibility. That is Labour's tactics, blame someone else!

  • Comment number 79.

    It is quite scandulous that many people have been unable to vote at this election especially as it appeared to be important to do so this time. These people have been disenfranchised. Surely it is the legal responsibility of all returning officers to make sure that everybody eligible to vote has a paper. It is my opinion that as a result this election should be voided and another election set in place in a months time

  • Comment number 80.

    I can't accept that people are angry to be locked out of polling stations,as the voting times are clear from the offset even if you are in a job, working 12 hour shifts, then you are clearly in a position to vote either before or after your working shift. If the general public are so intent on posting their vote then they should have made more of an effort to go to their local polling station within the set time limits!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    I have been watching the coverage of the election on the BBC world news and there has been no mention of the fact that several overseas voters have not been able to vote.
    Several of us, in Berlin, applied for postal votes shortly after the announcement of the election. However, we only received our ballot papers the day before the election thus making it impossible for our vote to count.
    These votes are just as important and should be raised!

  • Comment number 82.

    This a serious scandal. The polls in those constituencies would appear to be invalid, and the whole basis of our democracy is in question.

  • Comment number 83.

    you seem to be taking a very long time to moderate these comments. Why?

  • Comment number 84.

    there are comments here from over an hour ago - this is more than a 'short delay'.

  • Comment number 85.

    It is no doubt a shame and shameful, what happened.
    I bring to light, that where I voted, members of the Conservative party where asking people, after they voted and were leaving, for their polling cards. Not the number for statistics or whatever, but the actual Polling Cards without explaining to people that it was fior them to take to their headquarters. I know this because I made tyhe mistake of assuming they were exercising some sort of control, together with the table. I went home and chewed on the matter and it just didn't seem right. I went back for an explanation and I was told that the cards were being sent to the Conservative headquarters every 2 hours. To cut it short, I was promised that it would be delivered to me tomorrow, or rather, later today. I doubt it and I have no guaranty that they won't have copied the details. I presume they did that all over the country and so, took details from millions of people and I would like to know why and what for and, with what authority and more importantly, why were they permited to deceive people for a part of their personal details?!
    Why don't you ask the top people of the conservative party, about this practice of theirs?

    I also have a criticism to make directed at this blog. By not allowing direct publishing of the posts, you are insulting people. I understand that a few would be tempted to post offensive material, but you censoring each and every post, is not at all democratic and as I said, it is treating people as little irresponsible children; and that is also sad on your part.

    Thank you for your time and please, if you talk about democracy, set an example and allow people to take responsability for their own actions, don't behave like any dictator, wich is what you are doing by censoring posts.

  • Comment number 86.

    A bit surprised that the BBC reporting is so behind that of ITV's in terms of results from the constituencies. I always tune in to the BBC first for news but it looks like I may have to re-think this strategy. A bit galling seeing as I'm paying for you guys and the BBC as a whole to provide a world leading service! Good thorough debate from yourself and Paxman and the giant touch screen is great. Perhaps drop the 'berk on the boat', bring Hislop and Frostrup into the studio to liven things up a bit and concentrate on what really matters - getting us accurate news as it happens. Oh, and while I'm ranting...don't close 6 music. Thanks.

  • Comment number 87.

    Hello Nick, in view of the number of errors, running out of ballot papers, not enough staff to deal with the would be voters, voters not on the lists and postal votes going astray, would this create a president for the calling of a re-ballot. It reminds me of the farce in the USA over the hanging chads, and an iffy result to say the least, from Florida. This election can not be classed as a true representation of the electorate, how many more lost votes are going to come to light.......?


  • Comment number 88.

    Alex Salmond likened it to third-world non-democracies, and I think he was right on the button. Whether or not your vote actually counts in a first-past-the-post system - and therefore whether it is actually a democratic process - is up for debate, but at least you've been allowed to cast your vote.

    The second people are stopped from voting - for whatever reason - then you no longer have a proper democracy, and that is unarguable. I hope the external bodies watching this election take whoever forms the next government to task about this, and forces them to make the changes required. Let's not hear any rubbish about "taking a serious look" or "lessons must be learned" - just get rid of the stupid, archaic conventions that we have and instil a proper, democratic process. Everyone who is entitled to a vote gets to vote, and every vote counts.

    Let's have proportional representation so the make up of the parliament finally matches the range of political opinion amongst the electorate, and let's get a 21st century electoral process to replace the 19th century one we currently have. Really, marking bits of paper and counting them by hand in 2010? It's nonsense.

  • Comment number 89.

    Sadly, Nick, this is neither a "revelation" nor in any way "extraordinary" when one considers all that has been going wrong with the operation of the democratic process in the UK over the past decade.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    Just heard two "non-voters" on the beeb say they drove past the polling station on their way home from work...long queues. They went back a few hours later...long ques. In the end they went around 9:30...still long queues and were locked out at 10pm. And then they have the audacity to blame everyone else except themselves!

    Will someone please stop giving this stupid small minded people a major voice giving the impression that something is 'democratically wrong with the system. There is nothing wrong, expect those people were just too lazy too queue when they had the opportunity. Yet the TV crews are making them into martyrs!!

  • Comment number 92.

    The comments of 'kecsmar' are truly unbelievable. To compare daily shopping at a supermarket with a once in five year general election suggests to me that the observations of 'kecsmar' are bordering on imbecility. For one thing, many supermarkets are now open 24/7, but mainly these people had turned up before the deadline but the queues were so bad they couldn't get in. Outrageous. 'Kecsmar' needs to listen to exactly what is being said, I think.

  • Comment number 93.

    I am ashamed of my country when i was denied the right to vote. Many people fought, were imprisoned and died for this right. I am 53 and this is only the 2nd time i have missed voting. Even Iraq and Afghanistan now get better democracy. Yet we can vote for Big Brother, Celebrity Come Dancing and Get me out of the Jungle? This election should be null and void - we have a fourth world George W Bush system, and it stinks. We are lucky that Greek riots would be unacceptable in this country. But for how long?

  • Comment number 94.

    This election seems to be going from bad to worse.What about the inquiries into election fraud , particularly in Tower Hamlets where people were found not to be living at addresses on electoral register ? The postal voting fiasco leaves our democratic system wide open to fraud and into the realms of "banana republic" practice. This was arranged by the current Labour Government in an effort to influence elections and therefore should be abolished except for GENUINE " unable to attend polling stations" only

  • Comment number 95.

    I am getting really irritated! The BBC and ITV are both announcing live results - BBC analysis is much better - but how come you have 20 fewer results announced?

    I have to keep switching over to see what's really happening!

    Lots of analysis NOT being done. eg the 'pattern' of voting - does it correspond to people voting against alleged corruption rather than swinging to a party, which therefore cannot be extrapolated across the country. And what about the possibility that the LibDems are being supported by younger voters, which would have huge implications long-term.

  • Comment number 96.

    @Simon - my younger daughter's postal vote got caught up in volcanic ash somewhere, so she is disenfranchised in France. My other daughter, in Rome, appointed me as proxy. We've certainly learnt our lesson!

  • Comment number 97.

    We're Ex Pats living in New York and watching the live coverage on BBC World News....Nick you need to 'tweet' Judging by your comments on TV you know very little about this facility.....Blogging is a diary and 'Twitter' is news on the go which is what we want at this moment in time!

  • Comment number 98.

    Comments that people could have voted before 10pm are probably right. What concerns and frankly makes me highly suspicious of malpractice from the top, is the failure of the government to make sure that our forces in afghanistan and iraq were guaranteed the facilities to vote.
    Lincoln could manage it in 1864 and FDR managed it in 1944. This is either a final demonstration of the incapacity of this government to do anything efficiently or, as seems more likely, (to me), a naked attempt to prevent thousands of brave young men and women voting against the government whose incompetence and parsimony place their lives needlessly at risk.

  • Comment number 99.

    Hello Nick.....again

    I do so hope you will be on "Have I got news for you" tonight, you and perhaps,(although he didn't stand), Bob Marshall Andrews as well would make for a side splitting show.


  • Comment number 100.

    40. At 00:39am on 07 May 2010, Njmb wrote:
    "Postal votes were a complete shambles as well: Kensington and chelsea sent theirs out with the wrong instructions!"
    Happened in S. Wales as well.
    Symptomatic of the appalling administration we've got used to but shouldn't accept.
    Lack of ballot papers - you'd think someone would have enough nouse to print off more well before the deadline.
    Comments that the shambles makes us look like a third world country are relevant but that ignores the tremendous amount of good work correctly completed as expected.


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