The Government’s handling of the police and crime commissioner elections has been branded a “comedy of errors” with the lowest ever turn-out recorded in peacetime Britain expected to be announced yesterday.
Polling stations across the region stood empty, despite the controversial election of new commissioners across England and Wales being billed as the most radical shake-up of policing for half a century.
At Bramley Library polling station in Leeds, just 30 people had turned up to vote between 7am and 3pm, said to be only 20 per cent of the normal turn-out for local council elections.
Meanwhile, Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, the deputy leader of York Council, said yesterday many polling stations across the city had failed to even get into double figures of voters by lunchtime.
Coun Simpson-Laing said she believed an earlier prediction of 17 per cent turn-out for the whole of North Yorkshire could be announced today.
Nationally the Electoral Reform Society has predicted a turn-out of 18.5 per cent, which would be below the previous record low in a national poll in peacetime of 23 per cent in the 1999 European elections.
The society’s chief executive Katie Ghose said: “This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish.
“Polling stations are standing empty because voters knew next to nothing about the role, let alone the candidates they were expected to pick from.
“There have been avoidable errors at every step, and those responsible should be held to account.”
The new commissioners in 41 police areas in England and Wales, outside London, will be announced later today.
They will be able to hire and fire chief constables and set budgets.