County goes to the polls to elect new Police and Crime Commissioner
8:42am Thursday 15th November 2012 in News
The polls are open across Wiltshire today as the county goes to the polls to elect the county’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
Although party activists are urging supporters to come out and vote they privately fear the people of the county are unmoved by the campaign.
One said: “It could be well under 15 per cent, we don’t think the polls will be very busy.”
There was a slow start for those in Chippenham’s central polling station at the Neeld Hall.
Five volunteers have been manning two polling booths at the hall since 7am this morning, but at 10.15am they said only 15 people had voted so far.
Volunteers at the hall said most people would probably arrive to place their votes after work, as the polling station will be open until 10pm.
There are 1, 206 people registered to vote at the Neeld Hall. Voting is also taking place at 12 other stations in Chippenham, including the Scouts Hut at Derriads Lane and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Cocklebury Road.
At 9.30am the polling station in St Thomas’ Church, Trowbridge, was reporting little interest in the election, with no voters at all in the first two hours it was open, and around 20 people coming to vote since 9am.
The first job of the new commissioner will be to decide the future of temporary chief constable Pat Geenty, whose contract runs out early next year.
The candidates are Labour’s Clare Moody, Conservative Angus Macpherson, Lib Dem Paul Batchelor, John Short for UKIP and independents Liam Silocks and Colin Skelton.
There will be two columns on the ballot paper – one for voters to mark their first choice and one in which to mark a second choice. Voters mark one X in each column, although they are not required to make a second choice.
All the first choices are then counted, and if a candidate has 50 per cent of the vote, plus at least one vote, they are elected.
If no candidate receives a majority, the top two continue to a second round and all other candidates are eliminated. The second-choice votes of everyone whose first choice has been eliminated are then counted.
Any votes for the remaining candidates are then added to their first-round totals. Whichever candidate has the most votes after these second-preferences have been allocated is declared the winner.
Counts will take place tonight at five locations across the county, including the The Oasis in Swindon, The Olympiad in Chippenham, the Leisure Centre in Devizes and Trowbridge Civic Centre.
The result is not expected to be declared until the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Check back here for updates throughout the night.
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