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Thursday 15th November 2012 | 15:39
With reports indicating extremely low turnout at ballot stations across England and Wales, the Electoral Reform Society has blasted the Government's handling of its flagship Police Commissioners policy as a "comedy of errors."
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%.
Following the Government's crushing defeat on city mayors in May the Society has called on the Government to think again on its piecemeal approach to localism and political reform.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society 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.
"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.
"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 Government has tried to deliver on that promise."