16 days and counting to an election no one’s heard of…

Electoral Reform Society,

Posted on the 30th October 2012

Another day, another disaster.

We now hear that £350,000 worth of ballot papers are headed for the shredder.

The farce that is the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections is continuing to thrill audiences across the country. Bi-lingual ballots matter in Wales, but 11th hour legislation had to be rushed through last night after the Government simply forgot to factor them in to the deal. The English-only ballots will now be disposed of.

To make one mistake in this election could have been regarded as misfortune. To make the dozen or so blunders the Home Office have made to date just looks careless.

There have been epic mistakes in every last detail of this election – from timing that will keep most voters at home on a dark winter’s night, to huge deposits that have kept serious candidates away, and now ballot papers which will be shortly heading into landfill.

We’ve spoken to the candidates. They’re working hard and facing a real challenge but the Home Office is doing them no favours. During Conference season one of their ministers Jeremy Browne even said it was “hard to define the role” – and if he can’t explain it we’re all in trouble.

Since then the Home Office have obliged with a few videos, and a website is finally up, but this has all come rather too late in the day.

This was meant to be a flagship policy, but a role the government has charged with serious powers is now at risk of becoming a joke.

We heard at the weekend the stories of public events with a single attendee. It still seems that few people know this election is happening, and even fewer really understand the nature of the role.

Only one thing is now certain. There are plenty of big questions that the Home Office will have to answer post-election.

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