Turnout under 10% in last public election for some time

Four council by-elections had been due this week. Three were called off because of coronavirus. The legal basis for doing that was unclear, though there were assurances from the government that no Returning Officer would be prosecuted for cancelling a contest and it’s unlikely anyone will object in the circumstances.

One council by-election did go ahead, making it the last election for quite some time, especially given the emergency legislation going through Parliament which, in addition to delaying this May’s elections to next year, also has plenty on delaying by-elections.

That one contest was in the West Midlands, where turnout was under 10%, perhaps reflecting that the voters were ahead of the election system in thinking that now is not the time to have such contests.

Upper Stoke, Coventry

There was regularly a Lib Dem candidate in this ward up to and including 2018 (including victorious candidates on a couple of occasions), but this time as in 2019 there was no Lib Dem on the ballot paper.

The bottom-placed candidate was Jane Nellist, standing for the Socialist Alternative. Her husband Dave was previously a Labour in the city from 1983 until 1992. In 1991 he was deselected by Labour for supporting Militant. He then stood as Independent Labour, narrowly losing with 29% of the vote in a close three-way contest.

These by-election results round-ups cover principal authority by-elections. See my post The danger in celebrating parish and town council wins for your own party for the reasons to avoid straying too often into covering town, parish or community council by-elections.

3 responses to “Turnout under 10% in last public election for some time”

  1. I know that you don’t always like Town Council results but as there was no Lib Dem standing in a leading authority election you might like to know how we did in #GainHill

    Sean Brennan Lib Dem 138 38%
    Labour 63 17%
    Gain Ind’s 112 31%
    Ind 47 13%

    Turnout 6.76% Lib Dem Hold.

    Not the poorest turnout in the ward, it was 3.4% in March 2005 when I was first elected to the Gainsborough Town Council.

    This result was a very poor result for Labour, who called the election and had 3 District Councillors representing the ward from 2015-19.

      • It was a team effort, I will pass on your congratulations to all. We got lots of posters up if you look at “Gainsborough East Ward” on Facebook, as under local LCC regs can keep the Thank You boards up on the lamp posts for 2 weeks.

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