Few voters ready to make history in Swindon

One of the few casting votes: Sharon Squires at Blunsdon Community Centre  Pictures: Siobhan Boyle

One of the few casting votes: Sharon Squires at Blunsdon Community Centre Pictures: Siobhan Boyle

First published in News by

VOTERS went to the polls today to help choose Wiltshire’s first police and crime commissioner – but turn-out in the historic county-wide election is expected to be low.

PCCs are being brought in by the Government to replace police authorities in England and Wales.

They will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set the force’s budget and strategy.

The Wiltshire candidates are Labour’s Clare Moody, Conservative Angus Macpherson, Lib Dem Paul Batchelor, John Short for the UK Independence Party and independents Colin Skelton and Liam Silcocks.

People are given the option to vote for a second choice.

The result was expected to be declared in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

The Electoral Commission is hoping for a turnout of about 30 per cent – in line with the average for a council election – but after the polls opened, it became clear that some polling stations in Swindon were super quiet, with perhaps only one voter turning up every 20 minutes.

Things were slow at St Barnabas Church Hall, in Ferndale Road, where 23 voters had passed through by the end of the normal morning rush about 9.40am.

Pamela Stone, 70, of Whiteman Street, said she would give her support to Labour’s candidate, Clare Moody, but felt turn-out would be very low as she had not received any political literature.

She said: “Really they should be knocking on your door. I know nothing about the people whatsoever.

“They can’t expect you to vote for them if you don’t know anything about them.

“I think there’s a female on there so that’s the one I will go for just because she’s female. I don’t know anything else about anybody.”

Things were equally slow at Rodbourne Methodist Church, in Rodbourne Road, where the only voter in sight was Joan Jeffrey, 77, of Burnham Court.

She said: “I voted Liberal because the local Liberals are pretty good aren’t they.”

Commenting on the option of a second-choice vote, she added: “I voted for the Liberals and then Labour as second choice. It’s confusing.”

But things were busier at Blunsdon Village Hall, where people could also cast a ballot in the Blunsdon and Highworth ward by election, which was triggered by the death of Coun Doreen Dart.

The Conservatives need to win to maintain majority control of Swindon Council.

Sharon Squires, of Blunsdon, said she voted in the PCC election for Conservative Angus Macpherson as first choice and Lib Dem Paul Batchelor as second choice.

She said: “It was not particularly easy. I didn’t feel I really heard enough about it.

It’s been on the news but I haven’t heard in any detail about the candidates or the whole thing.

“I did have a quick look at the leaflets today and based it on that.

“I did vote for two. I was surprised I had a first and a second choice because most elections you just get one. I did debate but then I went for two.”

Aidan Hannon, 21, of Blunsdon, voted for Conservative Angus Macpherson as first choice and independent Colin Skelton as second choice, as well as Conservative Steve Weisinger in the by-election.

He said: “I thought I would support whoever had the toughest stance on drugs.

“I think a lot of crime problems stem from people abusing drugs, and drugs around the town, so I thought it would be the best issue to go on.”

Comments (6)

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6:09pm Thu 15 Nov 12

The Real Librarian says...

I did go through the doors of my local station and nearly got knocked over by a giant tumbleweed.

The staff were glad to see me, but they were glad to see anyone.

They are on course for six percent turnout not including postal votes.
I did go through the doors of my local station and nearly got knocked over by a giant tumbleweed. The staff were glad to see me, but they were glad to see anyone. They are on course for six percent turnout not including postal votes. The Real Librarian
  • Score: 0

7:27pm Thu 15 Nov 12

MrAngry says...

Looks like the election will be won by the candidate with the biggest family.
Looks like the election will be won by the candidate with the biggest family. MrAngry
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Thu 15 Nov 12

Blackmalkin says...

We only had two fliers through our door and I didn't like either of them (Tory and UKIP). So I didn't vote. I'd have voted for the Labour lady but, if she couldn't be bothered with even a leaflet...pah.
We only had two fliers through our door and I didn't like either of them (Tory and UKIP). So I didn't vote. I'd have voted for the Labour lady but, if she couldn't be bothered with even a leaflet...pah. Blackmalkin
  • Score: 0

2:24am Fri 16 Nov 12

SpeakUp says...

Why oh why have we (they) spent millions on this when clearly very few real people were interested? Political idealism gone completely bonkers, methinks.
Why oh why have we (they) spent millions on this when clearly very few real people were interested? Political idealism gone completely bonkers, methinks. SpeakUp
  • Score: 0

9:52am Fri 16 Nov 12

src says...

This job role and this election was a total waste of time and money. Whose stupid idea was it anyway?
This job role and this election was a total waste of time and money. Whose stupid idea was it anyway? src
  • Score: 0

9:54pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Empty Car Park says...

src wrote:
This job role and this election was a total waste of time and money. Whose stupid idea was it anyway?
The Consevatives.

Oliver still thinks they do no wrong and anyone that disagrees must be an all out lefty
[quote][p][bold]src[/bold] wrote: This job role and this election was a total waste of time and money. Whose stupid idea was it anyway?[/p][/quote]The Consevatives. Oliver still thinks they do no wrong and anyone that disagrees must be an all out lefty Empty Car Park
  • Score: 0

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