How turnout will turn out tomorrow


On the streets of Llangefni, on the farmyard in Llanddeusant, at the drug and alcohol support group in Bangor, I was searching for North Wales voters who will tomorrow turn out to choose a brand new Police and Crime Commssioner. I found a former Home Secretary.

David Blunkett was standing by the Cathedral in Bangor. Not your average vox pop, I thought - but let's find out what he makes of tomorrow's vote anyway.

You'll find the answer here but take it that Mr Blunkett was concerned that as few as 15% of us may choose to vote and that if he's right, then "it fails to give proper legitimacy to whoever is elected" be that in North Wales, or any other part of Wales or England come to that.

He attracted quite a crowd - many with strong feelings on what the police do and how they do it. But that doesn't mean they'll vote. One woman dismissed the new PCCs as "glorified accountants", another man on his way to a meeting stopped long enough to say he regarded the new job as "another layer, a barrier between us and the police". But the commissioners are there to be a bridge, not a barrier I said - to make sure your voice is heard by the police. "The public can raise their own voice" came the response.

As it happens he thought the candidates sounded ok - it was just he thought they'd be better off using their skills elsewhere. Some had voted, or were planning to but more had no idea who the candidates were, or knew and had no inkling what the policy differences between them really were. Some had had a leaflet, two if they were lucky, through the door. Many said they'd received nothing - including nothing from the Electoral Commission. Weren't they meant to distribute a booklet to every household in the land?

How come, I asked the Commission this morning. They said:

"The booklet was to be distributed to every household in Wales which equates to around 1.4 million homes. It is acknowledged that there would be some cases where this (delivery) may not happen, or some people may accidentally put them in recycling, lose them etc"

I wonder what what exactly 'etc' amounts to.

The Commission did point out that in the past, they've run similar campaigns and reached up to 96% of Wales' 1.4m households.

It's a pity, independent candidates argue, that all of those standing weren't given one free mailshot that might have reached anything like 96% of Wales' households. Parties can call on the faithful to knock on doors. If you're a one man band, you can't. If David Cameron believes this is "a big job for a big local figure" they ask, why deprive them of one big mailshot?

You suspect Andrew R T Davies thinks they have a point and that the boss in Westminster might have got that one wrong. He stopped short of calling it a mistake but was clear when I spoke to him today that anything which helped to inform and galvanise interest would have been welcome.

Will the turnout be as low as 15%? Or will it, in the end, turn out to be dreadfully low, rather than crushingly low and have us concluding it wasn't as bad as expected, rather than ... dreadfully low? Probably.

Let's just say that I generally warn my children to expect awful weather on holidays. At least then I'm either proved right - or have happy children.

Betsan Powys Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • Comment number 14.

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    Comment number 13.

    People died for the right to vote, its too precious a thing not to use. By spoiling the ballot paper my views will be heard by the returning officer and the candidates agents, if no one else. You are right policing has been increasingly politicised, but I don't like the trend of handing power to one person - I don't think that it will actually achieve much as they have no operational powers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    11 Lyn D T - well done to you - at least you will have taken the time and trouble to go to the ballot box.

    One your other point, surely the police service is already politicised under the present system. The changes should be given a chance to inprove (or otherwise) policing which has had its fair share of problems over the years

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    Comment number 11.

    I will vote, I have always voted and will never miss a vote, however I will cast a spoiled ballot paper, I will write devolve policing and criminal justice on the ballot paper. This election is a monumental waste of money and will only go to politicise the police service. I huge mistake, one that Scotland and Northern Ireland are not repeating.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 9.

    I am off to vote after this message, and would urge everyone else to do the same. I find it amusing that Betsan is worried about low turnout. We are use to that in Wales. Surely the result is determined by the candidate who gets the most votes not by the turnout. Or have the rules changed since the last Referendum?

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    Comment number 8.

    #3#4 Crossed wires there folks.....when I referred to comments by the usual suspects it was in relation to the article linked to by "Comeoffit" not this blog. It was a reply to Comeoffit. I might go down to the polling station..just to see how many names are crossed off the register. I can't imagine that anyone hates Welsh by the way; it's easy to see how many might hate Welsh language supporters

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    Comment number 7.

    #6 Interesting.
    FTR: do the candidates have to get a certain number of votes, or just a percentage??
    On my predicted turn-out, get your mum and your girlfriend to vote for you and you should be fairly safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    "some people may accidentally put them in recycling, lose them etc"

    Etc?? I put 50% of my EC booklet through the shredder - the 50% in Welsh - which I will send to landfill in protest at the unsolicited waste.

    But I will drive back from England later today especially to vote in this election I didn't ask for... 'Cos if I don't then I can't complain...

    The £5K candidate deposit is scandalous!

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Just wanted to say a big thank to BBC News for snubbing the Police Commissioner Vote in the amount of coverage it given to it. Hopefully the low turn out will mean that the trendy liberal left will be kept well away for the booths tomorrow resulting in PC's being able to focus on crime again instead of well PC (Political Correctness again.

  • Comment number 4.

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    Comment number 3.

    #2 Sedwot, Sedwot. Yours is only the second comment on this blog, and there have been no others open for the last four days. So, where could the 'usual suspects' comefrom but your overheated imagination. They will come no doubt: I probably qualify.
    I personally will not vote because I have not seen a C.V. and don't know all but one of the candidates,

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Come off it comeoffit! How likely is that? Look at the comments....all the usual suspects.

    As for voting; I used to pride myself on always using my vote.....what to do? Not vote and break the habit of a lifetime or spoil my ballot paper.........HMMM!

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.



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