THERE are calls for a full public inquiry into why so many people were denied the right to vote in Barnet this morning.

Thousands of people lost their vote in the mayoral elections after a mix-up saw the incorrect lists sent out to polling stations this morning.

The farce has sparked concern that all votes may need to be nullified as some are unable to get back to Barnet before the polls close at 10pm.

Labour leader Barry Rawlings said he would be pressing for legal action and has no affect how it is going to affect the count tomorrow.

"We are in unchartered waters - so many people have lost their vote", he said.

Liberal Democrat Alisdair Hill called it a "disgrace" and blamed  the error on the fact that Barnet Council's services have been outsourced to Capita.

He said: "I don't know what will happen next. Will all votes be nullified? Will they delay the announcement of the mayor and the assembly candidates? So many people have been denied their right to vote."

Seetha Kumar, who tried to vote at Avenue House polling station at around 8am, told the Times Series: "I've been deprived of voting in a critical election. It's unacceptable - I can't come back tonight and vote again. This is not democratic in the slightest." 

Heath Hollinsworth, of Hamonde Close, Edgware, was turned away at Broadfields.

He said: "This is a complete farce.  I have worked many years in Africa, seen the unbelievable mess ups there, now we have become the same.

"What is the solution?  At the Broadfields desk they said they have no idea when they will have the correct paperwork."

Aron Caplan tried to vote at the Spur Road Estate. He said: "It's gone beserk now.

"I can't return as I'm now away on business. Crisis management is key here. Barnet should have declared the vote null and void by 8am, aplogised and ordered a revote. It's outrageous."

Frank Penter and his wife were one of the few people who tried to vote in Colin Close - but only after bringing their polling card and persisting.

Former Times Series reporter Vickiie Oliphant tried to vote in Muswell Hill at around 8.30am but was turned away because she did not have her polling card.

She said: "I had to really stress the point that this was the only time I could come in, and eventually they rang some central office number with my details to check I was on the list. 

"They were having to write down all my details in pencil on some scraggy piece of paper, which was hardly very official. 

"The whole thing was just a farce - so many people were stood around complaining, even ones who had poll cards were being told they couldn't vote as the staff had no real list to work from."

A statement from Barnet Council, who the authority refused to name, said: “We are aware of problems with our electoral registration lists this morning at polling stations in Barnet which have meant that a number of people who had not brought their polling card with them were unable to vote.

“We are working to resolve this issue and the updated registers have been sent to all the polling stations, which we expect to be in place by 10am.  In the meantime, people who have their polling cards with them are able to vote.

“We are advising residents to bring their polling cards. If people were unable to vote this morning they are being advised to return if possible later before the stations close at 10pm. We apologise for the problems.”