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Proxy votes available in Barnet for those turned away from polling booths this morning

PUBLISHED: 15:12 05 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:56 05 May 2016

The early bird might catch the worm - but they could not vote in Barnet this morning

The early bird might catch the worm - but they could not vote in Barnet this morning

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Emergency proxy votes are being offered to Barnet residents who were unable to have their say at the ballot box this morning.

Names were missing from voting lists across all 155 polling stations in Barnet for the mayoral and London Assembly elections between 7am and around 10.40am this morning.

The Conservative-run council has apologised and is now offering proxy votes for those unable to visit a polling booth later, allowing others to vote on their behalf.

A Barnet Council spokesman said: “Anyone who attended a polling station in Barnet this morning, and was turned away and therefore could not vote, and was unable to return due to work reasons, may be able to use an emergency proxy vote.

“They will need to complete an application form on our website (www.barnet.gov.uk) and return it by 5pm today.”

Barnet has not said how many of its 236,196 registered voters were turned away, but disgruntled residents turned to Twitter to vent their frustration.

Barnet was famously dubbed the “Easyjet” council because it has outsourced vast proportions of its services to private contractors - but voter registration is performed in-house.

The council admitted that “a number of people who had not brought their polling card with them were unable to vote” - although polling cards explicitly state they are not needed.

Although it is unclear what exactly went wrong, reports have suggested polling station staff only had the updates to the electoral register, rather than the entire roll call of voters.

As well as choosing their mayor, Londoners are electing members of the Greater London Assembly (GLA) today.

Andrew Dismore is the Labour incumbent for the GLA constituency of Camden and Barnet - with Camden the more Labour-leaning borough and Barnet traditionally more Tory-leaning.

By 10.40am, the council said the updated electoral registers were in place and that normal service had been resumed.

Candidates and voters are able to challenge the result of the elections in London by lodging a petition with the Royal Courts of Justice.

Lutfer Rahman’s election as Mayor of Tower of Hamlets was declared null and void in April 2015 following an election petition from disgruntled voters.

One mayoral candidate, Sophie Walker of the Women’s Equality Party, herself a Barnet resident, has registered a complaint with the council and with the London Assembly, amidst calls for a public enquiry into what went wrong.

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