Voters in queue at close of polls should be allowed to vote

25 January 2012

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has today published a short report on the position of voters at the close of polls which calls on the Government to change the law to ensure voters are not disenfranchised, as some were at the 2010 General Election.

The Committee took evidence from the Electoral Commission in June and agreed with the Commission that the law is unsatisfactory in this area and should be amended. The Constitution Committee state that the law should be changed to ensure that - Voters who are present, or in a queue, at a polling station at the close of polls are entitled to vote.
The Committee acknowledge that the Law Commission are undertaking a review of electoral law but point out that they are not due to report until 2017. They call on the Government to look more urgently at changing the law before the next general election which is scheduled for 7 May 2015.
Commenting Baroness Jay, Chairman of the Lords Constitution Committee, said:
“If we are to ensure there is never a repeat of the chaotic scenes we saw in 2010 the Government must now amend the law to ensure voters in a polling station, or in the queue at a polling station, at 10pm on polling day are allowed to vote.
“This cannot wait for a Law Commission review that doesn’t report until 2017, the Government should make these changes before the next general election.”
Notes to Editors
1.   Embargoed copies of the report are available to journalists from 11am on Tuesday 24 January from the House of Lords Press Office. To request a copy please call 020 7219 8550.

2.   The full report will be available on the Constitution Committee's website  after publication on the 25 January.

3.   The House of Lords Constitution Committee is charged with considering the constitution and examines all Public Bills for constitutional implications. It also undertakes inquiries into constitution issues. It is one of the five permanent investigative committees in the House of Lords. For more information about the Committee and this inquiry, see its website