Is turnout going to be on the low side?
It’s always quite difficult trying to make a guess at turnout at this stage on polling days. The big rush is generally between 5pm and 7.30pm. Even so the message that’s coming through is that the levels of voter participation are not going to be anywhere near the proportions that some were suggesting over the weekend.
Above is the scene outside my own polling station – the refreshment hut at Bedford Rugby ground at about 9.30am. The only actual voters there at that time were my wife, Jacky, and I and the party tellers didn’t seem to be too busy. Given that a voting for the town’s new unitary authority is taking place at the same time I would have expected more activity.
In my days as a party activist, now gone, I always said that low turnouts were good for the simple reason that the party that’s better organised is more likely to win.
What’s going on is that the tellers are taking the polling numbers of those going to vote; these get picked up and are then fed into computers at local party committee rooms so that they are able to identify the non-voters. Later in the day computer generated lists of non-voters will be produced so what are termed “knocker-uppers” can go and remind people. When turnouts are in the 20s or 30s the efficiency of such activity can critical.
But it’s generally only in tightly-contested council contests that big efforts are made and I’d be surprised if there were many big GOTV (Get Out The Vote) operations going on specifically for the Euro elections. Turnout will be much higher where there are concurrent elections.
Meanwhile keep on sending your reports in.