Voter turnout down as Torys win County Coucil

PUBLISHED: 16:10 08 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:07 10 June 2010

VOTERS stayed at home en masse, despite electing the Conservatives to run Devon County Council for the first time in two decades last Thursday.

VOTERS stayed at home en masse, despite electing the Conservatives to run Devon County Council for the first time in two decades last Thursday.

The Tories won an overwhelming majority, 41 of the 62 seats, turning a Lib Dem majority of four into a majority of 21 - with both the Green party and UKIP beating Labour in the percentage vote.

But hopes that the Westminster expenses scandal would not effect the outcome of elections in Britain's third largest county came too nothing when just 255,000 voters turned out of 580, 865 - a low a 43.9 per cent turnout.

This is a massive drop from the county poll four years ago when a smaller electorate of 563,320 saw a bigger turnout, 381,918 votes - a 67.8 per cent turnout.

But the last County election was held at the same time as a the General Election, which in some part accounts for the increased turnout.

This time 41.9 per cent of the votes went to the Conservatives, 29.9 per cent to the Liberal Democrats, and 6.1 per cent to Labour.

Of the smaller parties, the UK Independence Party polled 9 per cent and 4.6 per cent went to Independent candidates.

The Liberal Democrats won 14 seats, Labour retained four, and two seats were taken by Independent candidates.

And in a quirk of the first past the post voting system, the Green Party polled a higher 'popular' vote than Labour with 6.8 per cent - but despite winning there first-ever seat, in Totnes, won three less seats than the party of Government.

Lib Dem County Councillor for Exmouth Eileen Wragg explained why she thought voter turnout was so low: "Knocking on doors and trying to get the vote out was really difficult, people were furious, really angry about the expenses scandal.

"People were fed up with we have all been tarnished wit the same brush"

A full round up of the results is available on Devon County Council's website at: www.devon.gov.uk/electionsandvoting

Ends

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