Investigation after complaint voters were locked out of polling station in Northampton

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Northampton Borough Council is investigating a complaint that a polling station used during the recent European election was locked and prevented people from casting their votes.

Sally Keeble, Labour candidate for Northampton North, said she had spoken to a number of people in the Rectory Farm area who said they were unable to enter the Blackthorn Good Neighbours’ Centre to register their vote on May 22.

Mrs Keeble said: “The person living in Rectory Farm ward went to vote after work at about 5.45pm, and found a group of people standing outside the polling station unable to get in.

“They were ringing on the doorbell, but some gave up and went away before the door was answered. The polling station covers a number of different polling districts in the east of Northampton, and was only due to close at 10pm that evening.

“In many towns the local councils are trying to find ways to increase voter turnout, locking the doors of the polling station does not encourage people to vote.

“It’s a particular worry if the polling station covered a number of polling districts and wards - because it casts a pall over voting across a swathe of the town.”

A spokesperson on behalf of the Local Returning Officer said the council was investigating a complaint raised about a polling station in the recent elections.