Voters shun election Sussex Police commissioner election

10:30am Friday 16th November 2012

By Ben Parsons

Polling stations across Sussex stood empty yesterday (November 15) as voters shunned the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

At polling stations in Brighton and Hove people were voting at a rate of only about 11 an hour by 5pm, although many people had voted by post.

The candidates, who are gathering at the Corn Exchange in Brighton to follow the results from across the county today (November 16, said they expected turnout would be low.

By 5pm 110 people had voted at the Cornerstone Community Centre in Western Road, off Palmeira Square. The polling station has 2,521 electors. If that rate continued until 10pm, only about 165 people, or 6.5% of potential voters would have had their say.

Numbers were said to be slightly increasing as people finished work.

Criticism

Voters outside the Cornerstone were critical of the way the election was run.

Ruth Addison, 85, of Adelaide Crescent, Hove, said: “We did not receive the simplest note of the listing of the candidates, their names and what they stand for.”

Beryl Howes, 87, of Hove, said she asked in the polling station for information about the candidates.

She said: “They said I should go online. But I don’t have a computer.”

Catherine Davis, 42, of Hove, said: “It is like asking who is going to run MI6. You don’t know who the best person to do it is. You’re not an expert.”

Kate Holder, 38, from Hove, said she had set out to find information online and she and her friends had swapped what they learned on Facebook and Twitter.

Both her children’s schools, Davigdor Infants and Somerhill Juniors, had closed because they were being used as polling stations.

She said: “I’m self-employed so I have managed to juggle it, but a lot of people are having to help each other out, or one parent is having to take a day off work.”

Laura Hamlyn, 26, of Hove, said she was voting “to keep the nutters out”.

Under the “supplementary voting system”, used for the first time in Sussex, voters marked a first and second preference.

Today’s count will begin with the first preferences. If no one has more than 50% of the votes, all but the top two candidates will be eliminated. The eliminated candidates’ papers will then be counted and any second preference votes for the remaining candidates will be added to their totals.

The Argus is updating a live story from the count as results come in from across Sussex.

See all coverage of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner elections online at www.theargus.co.uk/news/special/policecommissioner

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