Slow start in Swindon to voting for new Police and Crime Commissioner
8:30am Thursday 15th November 2012 in By David Wiles
The polls got off to a slow start across Swindon this morning as Wiltshire gets set to elect the county’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
Things were quiet at St Barnabas Church Hall, in Ferndale Road, where about 23 voters had passed through by about 9.40am.
Pamela Stone, 70, of Whiteman Street, said she would give her support to Labour’s police and crime commissioner candidate, Clare Moody, but felt turnout would be very low as she had not received any political literature from candidates.
She said: “Really they should be knocking on your door. I know nothing about the people whatsoever. Really they can’t expect you to vote for them if you don’t know anything about them.
“You have got to know them, you have got to know something about them to know they will do any good.
“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, do you?”
Although party activists have been urging supporters to come out and vote they privately fear the people of the county are unmoved by the campaign echoing the slow start to voting.
One said: “It could be well under 15 per cent, we don’t think the polls will be very busy.”
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.
Joining Labour's Clare Moody as candidates are Conservative Angus Macpherson, Lib Dem Paul Batchelor, John Short for UKIP and independents Liam Silocks and Colin Skelton.
Sharon Squires, of Blunsdon, said she voted in the police and crime commissioner 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 really 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 don’t quite know why. 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.”
In the by-election, she said she voted for the Conservative candidate, Steve Weisinger, because she supported the party’s national policies.
Voting for the county’s first Police and Crime Commissioner will be on two columns of 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 at five locations across the county, including the The Oasis in Swindon, The Olympiad in Chippenham, the Corn Exchange in Devizes and Trowbridge Civic Centre.
The result is not expected to be declared until the early hours of tomorrow morning.
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