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Polling place review appeals

On this page you can find out about how to appeal against a review of polling districts and places.

Reviews of polling districts and places

Local authorities in Great Britain must designate and review UK Parliamentary polling districts and polling places. There is a right for some persons and bodies to appeal against reviews of polling districts and places to the Electoral Commission but only on certain grounds.

In Northern Ireland the polling districts are designated and reviewed by the Secretary of State. There is no right of appeal to the Commission in respect of polling districts in Northern Ireland. The polling place for each polling district is designated and reviewed by the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland. There is a right for some persons and bodies to appeal against reviews of polling places in Northern Ireland to the Electoral Commission but only on certain grounds.

What is a polling district?

A polling district is a geographical area created by the division of a constituency into smaller parts.

What is a polling place?

A polling place is the building or area in which polling stations will be selected by the Returning Officer.

Grounds of appeal

An appeal can only be made on the grounds that the review did not:

  • meet the reasonable requirements of electors in the constituency
  • take sufficient account of disabled access to polling stations

Right to appeal

Following a review, certain persons have a right to appeal:

  • a parish council (or if there is no such council, a parish meeting) in England or a council of a community in Wales, which is wholly or partly situated within the constituency

  • 30 or more electors in the constituency

  • a person (other than the Returning Officer) who made representations under Schedule A1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983. This includes an elector in a constituency in the local authority's area (or in Northern Ireland, an elector in Northern Ireland) who made representations to the local authority (or to the Chief Electoral Officer in Northern Ireland) during the review.

  • a person who is not an elector in a constituency in the authority’s area (or in Northern Ireland, a person who is not an elector in a constituency in Northern Ireland) but who we think has either sufficient interest in disabled access to polling places in the area or particular expertise in disabled access to premises and facilities

Our decision

Appeals should be made directly to us.

If you are one of the persons mentioned above and would like to make an appeal which falls within one or both the grounds mentioned above, you can send your appeal to:

Legal Counsel
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 020 7271 0500
Email: appeals@electoralcommission.org.uk

On the outcome of an appeal, we may:

  • direct alterations to be made to the polling places designated by the review  

  • make alterations ourselves, if the authority fails to make the alterations within two months of the direction being given

If we receive a representation on one of the two grounds referred to above from an eligible person(s) or body we will consider it and make a decision. In order to reach a decision we must consult with the Returning Officer and may also need to consult with others as well as carry out our own enquiries.

Read more information on making an appeal in paragraph 7 of our guidance (DOC)

Appeals currently being considered by us

The table below shows the appeals that we are currently considering and have not yet determined.

Relevant authority

Date received

Appeal documents

Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland 15 June 2015 and 22 June 2015*

Appeal from Tom Elliot MP (PDF)

Appeal from Lord Morrow MLA on behalf of 30 electors (PDF)

Annex A of polling station draft plan (JPEG)

Email exchange between the Chief Electoral Officer and Area Electoral Officer -1 (JPEG)

Email exchange between the Chief Electoral Officer and Area Electoral Officer -2 (JPEG)

North Lincolnshire Council 4 March 2015

Appeal from Nicki Mumby on behalf of 30 electors (PDF)

Screenshot of Winterton polling places (PDF)

Email from North Lincs Council on 25 February - 1 (PDF)

Email from North Lincs Council on 25 February - 2 (PDF)

*Although the attached letters were received from Tom Elliott MP and Lord Morrow MLA on 26 May and 5 June respectively, confirmation of the eligibility of the appellant(s) was not provided to us until 15 June and 22 June respectively.

Our previous appeal decisions

This table will be updated when any further appeal decision is made.

Relevant authority
Decision date
Decision documents
Forest of Dean District Council 23 June 2015

Our decision letter to Forest of Dean District Council (PDF)

Summary of representations (PDF)

Northumberland County Council 23 April 2015 Our decision letter to Northumberland County Council (PDF)
Northampton Borough Council 7 April 2015 Our decision letter to Northampton Borough Council (PDF)

Barnet Borough Council

27 March 2015

Our decision letter to Barnet Borough Council (PDF)

Representation from 30 electors in Hendon constituency (PDF)

Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland
25 March 2015

Our decision letter to the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland (PDF) 

Appeal from Lord Morrow MLA on behalf of 30 electors (PDF)

Appeal from Tom Elliott MLA on behalf of 30 electors (PDF)

Disability audit report on Dungannon Leisure Centre (PDF)

Tamworth Borough Council
5 March 2015
Our decision letter to Tamworth Borough Council (PDF)
Burnley Borough Council
19 December 2012
Our decision letter to Burnley Borough Council (PDF)
Wychavon District Council
20 July 2012

Our decision letter to Wychavon District Council (PDF)

Appendix B - Access audit (PDF)

Leeds City Council
12 October 2010

Our decision letter to Leeds City Council (PDF)

Appendix 1 (PDF)


Stafford Borough Council
22 January 2008

Our decision letter to Stafford Borough Council (PDF)

Signed and sealed notice to Stafford Borough Council (PDF)

Local map outlining the decision (PDF)

Electoral administrator