Dozens of voters in Hackney found themselves unable to cast their ballots this morning after a combination of the government’s new voter registration system and a problem with the council’s IT systems left them unregistered on election day.
Hundreds of residents were shut out because of the technical glitch, resulting in queues of unhappy voters outside Hackney Town Hall this morning.
Hackney Council said some voters’ names did not appear on its printed register. Some also did not receive poll cards.
Angry voters took to Twitter to complain about the chaos at the polling stations.
— Years & Years (@yearsandyears) May 7, 2015
Those whose names were not on the registry were given temporary polling numbers.
Hackney resident Alan Scott told Eastlondonlines he made sure he updated his details before the registration deadline as he was moving house. But Hackney Council did not manage to get him on the registry, and “blamed a new system that was in place”.
He took his complaint to Twitter, and the council responded by giving him a temporary polling number.
“Its amazing to me how often Twitter seems to be the only route to finally get a response in these situations,” said Scott, a graphic designer.
“The customer service on offer was shocking, and sadly not even surprising. I’ve found that to be the case with most councils I’ve had to get in touch with.”
In a statement, the council said: “Nearly all of these have been able to vote after we have resolved their cases on our system.”
It added: “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.”
Hackney North and South constituencies will likely return their two Labour MPs, Diane Abbott and Meg Hillier.
In a series of tweets, Abbott blamed the council for the state of affairs, saying it had five years to prepare for polling day.
Went to see Hackney returning officer about shocking state of affairs. People of Hackney deserve better than the chaos around voting today
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) May 7, 2015