PCC candidates and campaigners join forces to save the elections from disaster
With just 50 days left until the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections, the Electoral Reform Society and PCC candidates from across the country have called on Theresa May to tackle the rock bottom turnout predicted for November.
Signatories including Labour’s Alun Michael MP, Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate and former Met officer Brian Paddick; as well as leading independent candidates Ann Barnes, Mervyn Barrett and Martin Underhill have come together to urge May to rethink the way the Police and Crime Commissioner elections are being run and to take some common sense steps to get voters engaged with the process.
The letter comes after over 5,000 people contacted Theresa May in August demanding that she take action to avoid the PCC elections resulting in the lowest turnout in British election history².
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society said:
The Home Office seems to think that if you build it, they will come, but this isn’t how elections work. If the Home Secretary is serious about people having a say she needs to listen to the warnings coming from all sides and take action now.
“Candidates are working hard to engage voters locally but it’s time that the Home Office fulfil their side of the bargain or these elections are in serious danger of descending into a farce.”
In the letter, signatories ask that the Home Secretary to...
Ensure voters know the elections are happening and who the candidates are. The Electoral Commission will be mailing every household to let people know the elections are taking place. The letter asks that information on candidates is included so that people know who they are expected to vote for.
Take to the airwaves. Broadcasts boost turnout and should be part of the Government’s package for raising awareness. With only three weeks from nominations closing to polling day candidates must get maximum exposure.
Pledge never to hold a major election in the winter again. Helping to improve turnout and reduce costs in one fell swoop.
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Notes to editors
1. View open letter to The Right Honourable Theresa May MP
2. ‘The Worst Turnout in History’. Download the full dossier on PCC election turnout here: http://bit.ly/PCCsElectionTurnout
3. The Electoral Reform Society campaigns for a better democracy, for more information about our work visit www.electoral-reform.org.uk
4. Letter signatories:
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society
Brian Paddick, Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police
Rt Hon Alun Michael MP (Labour candidate for South Wales)
Ann Barnes, (independent candidate for Kent)
Martyn Underhill, (independent candidate for Dorset)
Ian Johnston QPM, (independent candidate for Gwent)
Mervyn Barrett OBE, (independent candidate for Lincolnshire)
Tal Michael, (Labour candidate for North Wales)
Christine Gwyther, (Labour candidate for Dyfed Powys)
Sarah Russell, (Labour candidate for Leicestershire)
Paddy Tipping, (Labour candidate for Nottinghamshire)
Lee Barron, (Labour candidate for Northamptonshire)
Godfrey Daniel, (Labour candidate for Sussex)
Harriet Yeo, (Labour candidate for Kent)
Ron Hogg, (Labour candidate for Durham and Darlington)
Sarah Flannery, (independent candidate for Cheshire)
Simon Hayes, (independent candidate for Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
Michael Felse, (independent candidate for Greater Manchester)
Ian Chisnall, (independent candidate for Sussex)
Brian Greenslade, (independent candidate for Devon and Cornwall)
Sue Mountstevens, (independent candidate for Avon and Somerset)
Peter Williams, (independent candidate for Surrey)
Richard Hibbs, (independent candidate for North Wales)
Alan Charles, (Labour candidate for Derbyshire)