General election 2010: Ballot papers run out at Liverpool polling stations

By Chris Bradley

Candidates in Wavertree may have missed out on vital votes when some polling stations in the Wavertree constituency ran out of ballot papers in the early evening.

At the Bishop Eton Church Hall in Wavertree, voters slipped away as ballot papers ran out and the Lib Dem candidate Colin Eldridge was livid as he watched potential votes disappear.

More than 60 people waited to vote in the general election in the final hour before polling closed. But they were not able to vote in the local elections when an insufficient number of ballot papers arrived.

Mr Eldridge told JMU Journalism: “This has happened at four polling stations and it has happened in the places where I think people are most likely to vote for me.”

Mr Eldridge added his lawyers have told him that there is a “cast iron case to take this to the high court”.

Mr Eldridge is hoping to beat Labour’s Luciana Berger to win the seat for the Lib Dems after what has been a highly charged campaign.

The acting returning officer, Colin Hilton, said: “Due to an unprecedented an unexpected high turnout a small number of polling stations ran out of ballot papers in the early evening.

“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused some electors and would like to thank them for their patience. Every elector in the Wavertree constituency who wanted to vote had the opportunity to vote before the polls closed.”

Diana Rabey, the Respect candidate for Garston and Halewood said: “In my constituency, perhaps as many as 100 people were turned away form polling stations. Some people said it was happening in other places as well.”

Ms Rabey said the was told by a rturning officer that they had to close the doors at 10pm even if people were waiting to vote.

Votes are now being counted for the five constituencies and 33 wards on Merseyside at Liverpool Tennis Centre in Wavertree.