A REVIEW is to be carried out into troubles faced by some voters at polling stations across Chester last Thursday.
Late additions to the electoral register, combined with several polling stations having outdated records on polling day, left many voters experiencing delays.
Polling stations affected included ones in Boughton, Tattenhall, Lache, Blacon and Handbridge, and the situation was complicated when, as officers attempted to contact the town hall to check if voters’ names were listed, the phone lines were engaged.
Labour party workers claimed the problems struck more than 600 potential voters, a claim firmly denied by Cheshire West and Chester council, who said ‘a handful’ were affected and they were advised to return later in the day, with the majority of them doing so.
John Murray, webmaster for the handbridge.com website, has also heard of long-term residents who did not receive their polling cards in the build-up to polling day.
He has set up a Facebook group titled ‘Call for an election inquiry in Chester’, and is to help the council with its review.
Mr Murray, a former e-government manager for Chester City Council, has received feedback from voters experiencing problems at the polls, and from neighbours who received their postal votes late, or not at all.
He said: “It appears some people in Chester did not receive their electoral register returns last October, nor any follow up on it. It is also possible that this may have been compounded by data capture issues in the returns.
“My professional experience has always been people who fail to return their forms used to receive reminder letters and often a personal house visit by an electoral officer to check their details. I therefore question whether something has gone wrong in this process.
“With my campaign I am asking for the scope of any review or inquiry to be extended to include the arrangements for compiling the electoral register from the returns last year.”
Steve Robinson, CWaC’s chief executive, said the council would look to improve procedures at the next election.
He said: “We have already promised to take stock of procedures surrounding the administration of the election at Chester. Representatives of each political group in the council will be invited to take part together with agents and candidates if they wish.
“The purpose of this process is to identify any lessons which can be learnt and therefore improve the administration of future elections.”
The council added it does not believe any of the issues raised could have had any material effect on the overall outcome.