A wheelchair user had to be dragged in to vote by relatives because a polling station had no disabled access.
Azheem Ditta, of Burnley Road, Accrington, says he was told he could not vote because there was no wheelchair ramp at the Alice Street polling station, based at Peel Park Primary school.
He claims officials refused to help him after he was unable to get up three large steps leading to the voting station when he went to vote at around 7pm.
Azheem, who has spina bifida, was eventually lifted up the steps by his two sisters and wife Saima, only for Saima to slip and get her legs trapped by his wheelchair.
Eventually he got to cast his vote in both general and local elections, but he had demanded an apology after his ‘disgusting’ treatment by polling station staff.
Azheem, 29, said: “On my arrival at the polling station I was presented with the challenge of climbing three large steps, which was impossible given my disability. My sister went inside the polling station to notify the presiding officer that I had arrived and she was told that I would be unable to vote.”
He added: “Anyone who knows the school will be aware that all the other entrances have ramps for wheelchair access, so my sister asked if I could use a wheelchair friendly entrance. Given the lack of interest shown by the presiding officer she and my family decided to drag me in my chair up the steps.
“As my chair was progressing up the steps my wife, who was pulling the front of my chair, slipped and my chair landed on her legs and caused her considerable pain.”
Last week’s elections around the country have been dogged by complaints of dozens of people being unable to vote before the 10pm cut-off.
Azheem’s ward of Huncoat was the closest election in the borough, decided by a margin of just 18 votes in favour of Conservative Nick Whittaker.
A council spokesperson said, “When looking for polling stations we do try our best to identify buildings with disabled access. However, in one or two cases across the borough, this isn’t always possible.
In the area where the voter lives the school is the only public building currently available for use as a polling station. The school is understandably security conscious and we have not been able to agree access to the polling room via the other access ways, as this would involve voters walking though the school.
We are, however, conducting a review of all polling stations across the borough before the local elections next year and we will endeavour to find alternative venues for all our polling stations which are currently without a disabled access.”
Hyndburn disabled people’s champion Malcolm Pritchard said: “I have a lot of concerns if a venue isn’t fitted for disabled people to get in and I will be taking this up with the council. Everybody is entitled to get in to vote of their own free will.”