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Friday 16th November 2012 | 13:04
Electoral Reform Society press release:
The Lowest Turnout in British History: Official
With PCC turnout firmly on track to be the lowest for a national election in British history, the Electoral Reform Society has said that the Government's stated intention of electing police commissioners has simply not been met.
The Society had estimated national turnout at 18.5% before the campaign proper began - now turnout figures in some local authorities are approaching wartime lows of 10%.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:
"We cannot let the Government pin this on a "difficult first election". Not content with repeating past mistakes they decided to throw in a few new ones for good measure.
"No amount of spin can conceal the historical proportions of this failure. Through both inaction and incompetence the Home Office has helped redefine low turnout. Even in wartime Governments have managed to get more people to the polls with half the population under arms or overseas.
"This is not a reflection of voter apathy. The public have been given no reason to vote, and no information on either the role or the candidates. This election has been a comedy of errors from start to finish, and those responsible must be held to account."
The Society will be crunching the numbers on turnout and individual mandates over the course of the day. Katie added:
"The Government has ensured that our newly elected Police Commissioners will be taking office on extremely weak mandates. The stated intention of this policy was to reconnect the public and the police, and that objective has simply not been met."
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 added:
"The Home Office has operated under the assumption that 'if you build it they will come'. Democracy just doesn't work that way.
"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."