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By Ian Dipple Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 23/11 10:46
REDDITCH'S MP has admitted the timing of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections was 'dreadful' after voters shunned the poll in their droves.
Just 7,824 people within the borough bothered to cast their vote in last Thursday's (November 15) election - just 12.26 per cent of the eligible population.
The previous low for a full election was for the European Parliament in 1999 when 19.2 per cent of people turned out.
At one polling station only about 100 ballot papers had been issued by 8pm as voters stayed away, with many claiming a lack of information about the three candidates and the election itself put them off. The decision to hold the poll on a cold and dark night in November was also a factor.
More than 4,000 ballot papers were spoilt across West Mercia, a combination of people protesting at what they saw as an attempt to politicise the police by the Government and the introduction of a new voting system which asked people to rank their first and second candidate, which was confusing.
While Mrs Lumley defended the idea of Police and Crime Commissioners - one of the Government's flagship policies - she admitted the election had been badly handled.
"The principle behind commissioners is right because now we have someone who is elected as opposed to someone who is unelected, but the timing was dreadful and it would have been far easier to have held it at the same time as the county council elections next year," she said.
"It was cold, it was dark and people just did not want to vote. I don't think the voting system was explained to people either.
"There was a lack of information from all three candidates on the doorstep. We did go door knocking with Adrian (Blackshaw the Conservative candidate) but in such a vast area you couldn't knock enough doors and we did need to put on some kind of question time event so people could meet the candidates, so clearly we need to do things differently next time.
"But I look forward to meeting with Mr Longmore as soon as possible, listening to his ideas and working with him in the best interests of the people of Redditch."
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