Persuading voters to make their mark

IT'S the time of year when wannabe politicians are frantically pounding the streets in a bid to get the most people to mark an X next to their name.

Voting for Wakefield's local elections, in which one in three seats each of Wakefield Council's wards are up for grabs, will take place on Thursday, with a nail-biting count the following day.

But many residents are continuing to turn their backs on the election process.

Last year there was a drop in the number of Wakefield folk turning out to vote in the district elections for the second year running.

A disappointing 31.62 per cent of registered voters decided to turn out for their favourite candidate's. The previous year's elections saw a turnout of just 33 per cent.

The Wakefield ward with the highest turnout of voters last year was Wakefield South, with 40.85 per cent. The lowest was Normanton, with 24.98 per cent.

In a bid to boost numbers, council bosses have again looked towards television to help prompt people in to having their say on Thursday.

The campaign to increase voter turnout is making a comeback after initial success last year.

Wakefield has joined with seven other local councils in Yorkshire to run the locally-funded voter turnout TV advertising campaign, which will be screened on ITV1 in the run up to election day.

John Pitt, Wakefield Council's interim head of paid services and returning officer for the Wakefield district, said: "Local elections give the voting public the chance to make their voices heard on a local level and have their say on who represents them in their community.

"Wakefield Council provides services to more than 315,000 people and May 1 is an opportunity for our citizens to make clear what issues are important to them and get involved in what we are doing.

"The television advertising campaign is a great opportunity for us to reach the public with this message and encourage everyone in the Wakefield district to use their vote."