Sheffield voting chaos will not return in 2015 pledges Electoral Commission

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Chaotic queues seen at the 2010 election in Sheffield will not be repeated this year, the head of the Electoral Commission has vowed.

Five years ago, angry people queuing up to vote were turned away from polling stations across the city when polls closed – with police called in some cases.

A subsequent report by the Electoral Commission blamed the problems at 27 polling stations in 16 constituencies nationwide on ‘poor planning, the use of unsuitable buildings, inadequate staffing arrangements and the failure of contingency plans’.

Jenny Watson, head of the commission, said there was now a ‘safety valve’ which meant people queuing at 10pm would be able to vote.

She told a House of Commons committee: “If you should find yourself in a queue at 10pm you will be able to vote. It has been tested. We know that as a safety valve it works.

“It’s no substitute for good planning, and I do not know of any returning officers who would treat it as a substitute for good planning, but as a safety valve it does exist.”