'Not enough information' say electors registered at no-vote Newport polling station

6:35pm Friday 16th November 2012

By Ruth Mansfield

ONE polling station in Newport, at Malpas Cricket Club, failed to attract a single voter today.

The cricket club was made famous for its connection with Bond actor the late Desmond Llewellyn who grew up in Bettws - he wore the club's tie on screen.

As Twitter user mrdavidhands put it: "From Licence to kill to Licence for nil."

Bettws councillor Noel Trigg, who had a different polling station but admitted to not voting himself, told the Argus that the cricket club was used as a polling station for the first time specifically for residents on the new housing estate at Foxglove Meadows.

Rumour also hinted of another zero turn out at a polling station in the Corporation Road area of the city but Newport council strenuously denied this today.

Sources suggested that Newport's highest turn out was in Mount Pleasant, Rogerstone, which saw 247 of around a possible 15,000 voters turn out at the polls.

Residents registered to vote at Malpas Cricket Club in Bettws told the Argus they felt they didn't have enough information to vote.

Around 54 homes have been sold at the site but not all of them are currently occupied.

The Argus spoke to seven residents on the estate - four said they did not vote, one did by postal vote and the other two thought they had not received a polling card.

One resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: "I put the polling card in the drawer and just forgot about it. I didn’t know who was up and didn’t feel justified in voting.

We’ve had no leaflets or no-one coming round here so I just forgot about it."

It was a similar story elsewhere in Gwent, which had an overall turnout of 14.3 per cent, with the five local authorities all having turn out figures in the low to mid-teens.

Monmouthshire had a 15.1 per cent turnout, Caerphilly was 14.7 per cent, Torfaen was 14.3 per cent, Newport was 14.0 per cent and Blaenau Gwent was 13 per cent.

At the Cefn-y-Crib polling station in Pantygasseg just three voters made an appearance - a turn out of just 3.7 per cent.

Blaenau Gwent's poorest performing polling station was the William Powell Memorial Hall in Cwmtillery where five out of a possible 133 people made the polls.

Monmouthshire's lowest number of voters was at Ysgol y Ffin polling station in Caldicot which had 52 voters - a four per cent turnout.

Caerphilly council did not respond to the Argus' request for turnout information.

Yesterday's vote also had a high number of spoilt ballot papers.

A total of 1,555 were counted including 716 which had too many candidates marked on them and 347 which were discounted as being "uncertain".

Activists reported seeing papers strewn with swearing and comments that the election was a waste of money.

The Electoral Reform Society Wales, which described the process as a 'comedy of errors', said the turn out in Wales was the lowest in Welsh history.

The Welsh Local Government Association, which had opposed the idea of commissioners in Wales, said it was disappointed by the turn out.

Chief executive Steve Thomas said: "While no one would argue that the police should be held to account, this process has failed to engage voters in either Wales or England, and even with £100million being spent people were simply not convinced that they needed an elected police and crime commissioner in the first place."

He thanked local returning officers and officials for their work, adding: "We hope that their day was not too dull."


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