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Tyneside father loses vote because son has the same name

James Joseph McGauley senior
Image caption James McGauley is waiting to find out if he will be able to vote in the general election

A voter has been removed from the electoral register for the second time because he has the same name as his son, who lives with him.

James McGauley, from North Tyneside, said it first happened before last year's local elections.

He was "absolutely furious", he said. His son, also James McGauley, said it was "ridiculous" he had a polling card at his father's expense.

North Tyneside Council said it was a "rare but known fault" with its system.

The authority told the family the automated system could not accommodate two people with the same name living in the same house, Mr McGauley senior said.

"They know they have a problem with this and yet they seem to be doing nothing about it," he said.

Image caption The younger James McGauley voted for the first time in last year's local elections

Council head of law and governance Bryn Roberts said it was "a rare but known fault in a number of areas around the country".

"Safeguards are in place to ensure no-one is denied their right to vote," he said.

However, Mr McGauley senior was unable to vote in last year's local elections having been told it was "too late to do anything about it", he said.

He was eventually returned to the register but removed again after the family moved house to North Shields, still within the council area.

Mr McGauley's wife registered herself and her husband at their new address, receiving email confirmation.

But, when her son registered a week later, he replaced his father on the system, despite them having different middle names and national insurance numbers.

Mr McGauley said he still did not know if he would be able to vote in the general election.

"Their system just does it automatically and they can't do anything about it," he said.

"It's like the computer says no and you can't vote."

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