‘Please make sure you have your say at the ballot box’

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Have your say

A LAST-DITCH plea is today made for voters to turn out for the local elections.

The call comes after only a quarter of eligible people used their vote in one city ward last year,

The turnout across our area varied last May.

But in Portsmouth’s Charles Dickens ward, in which Lib Dem councillor Steve Wylie won by a 124 majority, only 25 per cent of those eligible voted.

This was closely followed by the Fratton ward, with only 27.8 per cent of people opting to have their say.

Now a rallying cry is being issued to boost the number of voters in tomorrow’s elections.

Labour candidate Sarah Cook, who is standing for election in Charles Dickens ward, said: ‘People on the doorstep say voting won’t make any difference, but of course it won’t make any difference if only 25 per cent of people vote.

‘It’s about trying to get that message across to people that they do have a vote and it is important.’

Not every ward saw voter apathy last year.

Emsworth had the biggest turnout across the area last year, with 52.69 per cent casting their vote, with Tory Richard Galloway being elected.

The more affluent Drayton and Farlington ward boasted the highest voter turnout across Portsmouth at 47.7 per cent.

In Eastney and Craneswater 41.83 per cent of residents went to the ballot box.

All told, 51,209 eligible residents voted across Portsmouth.

Tory James Williams is hoping to be re-elected to Nelson ward.

He said: ‘Local government and local politics is important.

‘You pay a lot more money in local government taxes than you do in your gas bill, for example.

‘So why not have a say in matters and go for the right person you think is best for the job?’

Sandra Stockdale, the Lib Dem candidate for St Thomas ward, said: ‘If people love their city and want the best for it they have to use their chance to vote for whoever they feel would do the most for them.’