Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Thoughts on 2 elections on one day

Last week obviously was the General and Local elections - both took place on the same day. When there is a Local election on it's own the turn out is around 35% on a good day, however, it can be as low as 25%. When a General Election is also held, the turnout can go up to about 65% - 70%. An increase of up to 100%. That demonstrates that only half of the people who vote for the General Election are bothered about the local scene or local politics. But when they go to vote in the General Election, they vote for the same party in the Local generally for their local Cllr . Interesting why if they were not bothered about local elections normally they also take local election ballot paper as well. Unless they are confused what the second ballot paper is for.

It is good that more and more people engage but I wonder why they then don't come back to engage the year after when it is just the local elections again. Obviously if 100% of people came out to vote for the General Elections and then vote the same way for the Locals as they had for the General Election then it is understandable why the major parties gain or lose seats in Local Elections, as the General Election has a heavy weight on it. It goes with out saying that minority or independents normally get wiped out or hit heavy in the years when there is a General Election on the same day as a Local Election and last week the Conservatives, nationally did well for Cllr seats. Below is the data for the national picture on how the different groups did.

PartyCouncilsSeats (source: BBC)
Liberal Democrat-3-390
No Overall Control-25N/A

Obviously in Wigan Borough there was 3 independents up for re-election. We had our candidate Cllr George Fairhurst for the Standish ward, which we won, and then the Wigan Independent Network had two candidates up for re-election. One for Bryn and one for Atherton. Unfortunately they lost their seats. There are a number of reasons why we were successful and they were not but it demonstrates that we fought a hard campaign in Standish and George works hard and is well known and respected in the local community.

I am reading some articles where some parties are now saying that whilst having a General Elections on the same day as the Locals saves money, having them on different day would keep them separate and also would keep the two issues separate too, There is an argument that it would be a better indicator than opinion polls. For example had the result above been delivered the week before the General Election everyone would have known that it would not have been a hung Parliament. There are a umber of things wrong with that, the first being that if they where held on separate days the turnout for the Local would have been lower and also people would not necessarily vote for the majority party like they would do when the two or one the same day, but never the less it is interesting that major parties members are talking about this.

For me if the argument was just to have the locals a week before the General Elections to be an indicator for the General Elections then we might as well have them on the same day, however, if we are talking about holding the locals on a different days so the General Elections do not distort the Locals then I would say hold them on a different day. However, I don't believe they will move but it proves the great result and campaign that Cllr George Fairhurst had to win on a General Election year.      

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