British polling station set up in car boot ‘after church warden overslept’

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British Polling Station Set Up In Car Boot ‘After Church Warden Overslept’ British Polling Station Set Up In Car Boot ‘After Church Warden Overslept’
Temporary polling station in a car boot
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By Emily Chudy, PA

A voter has cast his ballot in a car boot in Britain after the church warden opening his polling station “overslept apparently”.

On what has been dubbed Super Thursday, polling stations opened at 7am across Britain in the largest test of political opinion outside a general election, with the future of the Labour Party and the union itself among the issues at play.

Elections are taking place across Britain for parliamentary seats in Scotland and Wales, English councils, the London mayor, and 13 other mayoralties.

Toby Porter said he cast his vote in a car boot in Oxford at 7.25am, and the normal polling station was “up and running” by 7.30am.

He said around a dozen people voted in the car before the centre at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies was opened.

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“We found it funny. Everyone was enjoying the novelty,” he told the PA news agency.

Laura Lock, deputy chief executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, said some polling stations in cars are seen at each election.

“All polling station staff are trained on how to set up temporary polling stations for cases just like this,” she said.

“Unfortunately we do find keyholders oversleeping, so every election we see a handful of polling stations in cars until access to the building can be sorted.”

People going to polling stations on Thursday are being encouraged to take their own pen or pencil and wear a face covering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(PA Graphics)

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon’s push for a second independence referendum means the stakes are high in the Scottish parliament contest.

In England, as well as local council and mayoral contests, the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election will indicate what progress – if any – Labour has made in regaining votes in its former northern heartlands.

Hartlepool was held by Labour with a majority of 3,595 in 2019 even as other bricks in the so-called “red wall” crumbled – in part due to the Brexit Party splitting the Tory vote.

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Defeat would be a blow to leader Keir Starmer and provide a rare by-election gain for a governing party.

British prime minister Boris Johnson sought to manage expectations ahead of the elections, playing down his chances of taking Hartlepool – despite one recent poll putting the Tories 17 points clear and bookmakers making Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer clear favourite to win the seat.

For Labour, success is expected in the form of Sadiq Khan winning a second term as London mayor.

Results across England are expected to filter through over several days, as coronavirus restrictions slow the counting process.

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