Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Voters Out in Force in Midlands County

By Ben Aulakh

Two South Warwickshire constituencies are among those with the highest turnout in the country in the recent General Election.

In Warwick and Leamington 72 per cent of the voting public had their say at the ballot box, an even higher number, 75 per cent of constituents, voted in Kenilworth and Southam.

The numbers voting in each of the neighbouring parliamentary seats was between seven and 10 per cent greater than the national average of just over 65 per cent.

Gillian Friar, Election Manager at Warwick District Council, which administered the count in both parliamentary areas said, “This year we got back to the kind turnout we saw in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

“We haven’t been used to this turnout for a while, ever since 1997 the number of people voting had been going down.”

The result was declared in each seat at between midday and 1pm on Friday May 7, a time that Mrs Friar says was “expected.”

Nationally there was an increase in voting this year compared to the last General Election in 2005, with turnout up from 61 per cent to 65 per cent.

This meant that the number of votes nationally went up by 2 million on 5 years ago.

In addition, an extra 1662 constituents register to vote this year in both constituencies, with many forms being sent in from areas of Leamington Spa with a high student population.

Mrs Friar added that it was among a particular demographic where they saw the biggest increase in voting in the county, “From what has been said by staff at our polling stations there have been lot of younger voters this time round.

“People in their twenties and thirties who were maybe those voting for the first time.”

Debbie Smith from the Electoral Commission said “Anecdotally we believe there was an increase in people registering to vote in the run-up to the election as there is before every election.”

People could download a form from the website which they sent to Registration Officers to vote.

She added, “Statistics from the website show that over 500,000 registration forms were downloaded in the month before the election and we believe that around 40% of visitors to the website were aged between 18 and 24.

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