Ballott Box General Election Polling Station
Image courtesy of the Electoral Commission

Voters go to polls

All the action as Metro Mayors are chosen as part of devolution agreements for Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester and county elections in Cumbria and Lancashire take place.


9pm: There’s one hour left to vote in the local and mayoral elections, so time to nip out if you’ve been pulling a late one in the office. After polling stations close, it’ll be a four hour wait until the first results of the local elections come in, with Wrexham in Wales expected to be one of the early announcements at 2am, followed by Flintshire. Cumbrian results are due at around 8am, and with no current majority in the local council it’s all to play for.

If you’ve been up on tenterhooks all night, then there’s time for a nap until 3pm, when the winner of the Liverpool City Region Mayoral contest is due to be announced. After a quick catch-up of the results in Lancashire, expected at 5pm, feel refreshed by 6pm in time for news of who will be Greater Manchester’s first Metro Mayor.


7pm: Conservative candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor Sean Anstee helped to reignite the #dogsatpollingstations social media trend this morning, and throughout the day has picked up a few fans. Perhaps this pooch is joining the many voters who have taken to Twitter today to say that Anstee inspired them to vote Tory for the first time. Whether he’s a match for Labour candidate Andy Burnham will be revealed tomorrow, however at least the Greater Manchester election has been a bit more interesting than a one horse (or one dog) race.

Anstee Dog


4.15pm: Low turnout is predicted for the Mayoral elections today but is the perceived lack of interest really true?

If Google News searches are anything to go by interest in the elections varies greatly depending on the region.

The West Midlands Mayoral election had the highest number of results on Google News with 89,800 hits. This may be due to prominent businessman, Andy Street, gathering attention with his self-funded campaign as Conservative candidate for Mayor.

Liverpool got 44,700 hits, Manchester 55,800, and West of England 53,800 but they fared better than Tees Valley, and Cambridge and Peterborough with only 12,100 and 8,800 hits respectively.

 


4pm: Meanwhile, in the more glamourous world of Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Carl Austin-Behan and his consort Simon Austin-Behan were whisked off today for a weekend in Mykonos, on the inaugural Thomas Cook flight out of Manchester Airport. He certainly looks as if he’d much rather be on a campaign trail than a sunny Greek island…

Mykonos Lord Mayor

 


3.05pm: The woofy election trend is back with #dogsatpollingstations. Photos of dogs accompanying their owners to vote surged on social media at the last general election and this time it’s back. Some Twitter users have attempted to get their cats up for it with #catsatcounts but they don’t seem quite as excited as the dogs…


2.55pm: If you thought your polling station was a bit cramped, spare a thought for residents of Moray in North Scotland, who had to vote in a Ford Galaxy this morning as the designated building was still locked. It’s a legal requirement to allow people somewhere private to cast their votes, so thank goodness for this presiding officer’s ingenuity. “All part of the training”, apparently.


2.25pm: Meanwhile in Greater Manchester, voting allegiances start young.


2.10pm: This home in Wavertree appears to have grown tired of some of the political campaigns in the run up to polling day… Thankfully, the photographer is the Labour candidate in the by-election, so is safe.


Tony Lloyd1.45pm: It is understood that Greater Manchester interim Mayor, Tony Lloyd has applied to be the Labour candidate for Rochdale after Simon Danczuk was banned from standing as the Labour candidate for the constituency last week. With Lloyd handing over his role to the elected Mayor next week, he plans to return to his roots as an MP. He was previously MP for Stretford and Manchester Central. Applications for candidacy are open to all. You have until 4pm on May 11 to register.


12.30pm: There’s a lot going on today, and not all of a political nature, particularly on social media. Manchester-based accountant Williamson Croft has put together a poll to see whether it’s the political activity that’s keeping people entertained, or the more pressing issue of a secret Star Wars obsession. May the fourth be with you…


12pm: Fair-weather on polling day is assumed to favour Labour. A tweet from Joe Anderson celebrating the sunshine and forecasting a victory for Labour shows the old notion is still thought to be true, the better the weather, the better the turn out for the party on the left.

It was traditionally believed that wealthier voters, more likely to vote Conservative, are less likely to be put off by the weather due to their lack of reliance on public transport. Is this still true?

Various research performed in the US showed turnout was lower on the days when it was raining, and a higher turnout is generally thought to favour Labour. In the overwhelming Conservative victory in 2015 the weather was cool, with scattered showers, voters also went to the polls in temperatures way below average for the time of year in the 2010 when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats formed their Coalition government. However, blustery weather with thunderstorms greeted Tony Blair’s overwhelming victory for Labour.

Perhaps the notion that weather affects the election result is old-fashioned, or was never really true at all.


10am: Sean Anstee was joined on the campaign trial last night by former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark.

Clark was fundamental in the campaign for decentralisation, using his role to promote the economy of cities in the North. The support of a senior Government player is likely to provide a boost for Anstee as Greater Manchester heads to the polls.


9.10am: Could Greater Manchester be in with a chance of getting Brophy Bikes or Anstee-cycles? Whether you’re a keen MAMIL or just like to potter around the city centre, the Mayoral candidates’ responses to a 10-point action plan on greener and safer transport options put together by Greater Manchester Cycle Campaign might be of interest to you:


8am: Catch up on the candidates before you head to the polling station.

Back in February Place North West organised the first GM Mayoral Debate between the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates hoping to become the city region’s Mayor, in association with Lovell Partnerships, Iceni Projects and PPS Group.

Watch the highlights here:

 

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Sean has my vote. He helped deliver the Devo deal and has already invested heavily in local relations and the regions politics.

By Dave S

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