BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 00:26 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 01:26 UK

Voters turned away as polls close in Greater Manchester

Polling station Withington
Voters queued to vote in Manchester Withington

Hundreds of people were turned away from polling stations in Greater Manchester when the polls closed in the general election.

An estimated 200 people were refused entry to Ladybarn Community Centre in Fallowfield in Manchester at 2200 BST.

Resident Cathy Murray said she was "fuming" after being told she could not vote in the Withington constituency.

Votes are being counted in 27 seats across Greater Manchester in the general election.

Boundary changes mean there is one less seat than at the 2005 election, when Labour won 23 seats, the Liberal Democrats three and the Conservatives one.

'Democracy is dead'

Another voter in Withington, Oliver Gotham, said he was "disappointed in the country's voting system".

He added: "I got turned away to vote at Withington polling station, after going there more than once today.

"We were told by the man in charge that they had been busy all day, yet they hadn't attempted to extend opening times or bring in more staff.

Voters confronted the returning officer at Ladybarn Community Centre

"Democracy is dead in Withington."

Another voter confronted an election official. She said: "People missed out their votes out there and it's totally wrong.

"This happens in poor countries, you hear it on the news you don't expect it to happen in the UK."

It is understood queues also formed at other polling stations in Hulme and Moss Side in south Manchester, and at some polling stations in the north of the city.

A spokesman for the returning officer for Manchester said officials had adhered to election law.

He said: "The law states that the doors to polling stations must be closed at 10pm exactly, and no-one may be issued with a ballot paper after 10pm."

The Electoral Commission has said it will conduct a "thorough review of what has happened in those constituencies where people have been unable to vote".

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