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Staffordshire PCC returned with lowest turnout in country

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

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STAFFORDSHIRE’S first Police and Crime Commissioner was decided by the lowest electoral turnout in the country.

Only 11.9 per cent of people in the county turned out to vote in the election which saw Conservative candidate Matthew Ellis elected in favour of the Labour Party’s Joy Garner, with one Stafford polling station – St John’s Primary School on Weston Road - recording just six votes out of a possible 600 – just one per cent of the electorate.

In Stafford 13,966 votes were cast – 14.27 per cent of the electorate - with 7,666 voting for Mr Ellis, 5,763 for Mrs Garner and 537 voters spoiling their ballots – 3.84 per cent of those that voted.

That number of spoiled ballots rose to 2843 across the whole of Staffordshire although the percentage dropped to 2.8 per cent.

Stafford Borough councillor Barry Stamp said: “14 per cent turnout in the PCC election in Stafford shows what residents think of the madcap scheme and lack of information.

“What a waste of money,” he said.

“Am I right in thinking that 93 per cent of those eligible to vote in Staffordshire did not vote for Matthew Ellis,” Councillor Stamp added. “Is this really democracy?”

Other Stafford residents took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with the election.

Philip Jenkins said: “The spoilt ballots are the biggest talking point, an election that no one wanted.”

Alison Philips said called it a “double whammy” that schools around the county were forced go close for the day to act as polling stations only to receive such a poor turnout.

She said: “It’s time to consider whether schools should be used as polling stations.”

Councillor Ann Edgeller said she was pleased with the result but admitted the turnout, while better in Stafford than elsewhere, was still not very high.

“I am disappointed with the turnout but it was probably to be expected,” she said. “It’s the first time we’ve had this sort of vote and hopefully in the next four years, people will come to see the election as a successful way to have their voice in local policing matters.”

She said although a minority of people in the county had voted for the PCC she hoped Mr Ellis would listen to the public’s concerns and work with them alongside the local police force.

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  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 20 2012, 12:57PM

    I agree with the sentiments of Alison Phillips re the closing of schools for this particular voting. The costs and extra burden incurred by hard working parents/carers at this particular time and for what? Local and National elections fair enough, but a rethink on/rationalisation of polling station locations for future PCC elections has to be seriously considered.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 19 2012, 6:54PM

    I feel for those elected because with reduction in funding and more demands for the limited resources they will find it hard to meet peoples expecations but whereas in the past people may have identified the lack of funds as the reason now it will be down to the commisoners management. Giving the public more choice ? Introducing democracy or a crafty side step by the Government ?

  • Staf Newsletter  |  November 19 2012, 1:08PM

    As I arrived to vote at 7pm only 15 ballots had been cast at my station, and there had been a gap of three hours prior to my arrival. How can any elected member feel that democracy has been served when receiving the support of a mere 5.9% of the electorate?