AS counting continues across Gwent, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has blasted the UK Government’s handling of its flagship Police Commissioners. Reports are circulating that one un-named polling station in Newport recording a ‘zero turnout’ and a 4% turn-out in Caldicot.
Stephen Brooks, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales said: “This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish. Counting staff are sat idle today in Gwent because voters yesterday knew next to nothing about the role, let alone the candidates they were expected to pick from.
“With turnout as low as 4% in some parts of Gwent, and reports that one polling station had no voters it is clear that the Home Office shambles has wrecked this election”.
“The Home Office has operated under the assumption that 'if you build it they will come'. Democracy just doesn't work that way. There have been avoidable errors at every step, and those responsible should be held to account.
Early indications across Wales show that the Electoral Reform Society’s warning of record low turn-out could be proved correct.
As of 10.30 am 7 local authorities across two police areas had released initial turnout figures. The worst, Wrexham is projecting a turnout of just 12%. Other authorities include: Flintshire (13.3%); Conwy (16%); Denbighshire (16.7%); Carmarthenshire (17.4%); Gwynedd (17.5%); and Pembrokeshire (19.6%).
The Society estimated national turnout at 18.5% before the campaign proper began. The lowest turnout in peacetime history is currently the 1999 European Elections – at 23%.
Mr Brooks added: “It’s clear that the architects of the localism agenda need to get back to the drawing board. Few people could object to the idea of bringing power closer to the people, it’s just the cack-handed way the UK Government has tried to deliver on that promise.”