Local elections reveal waning numbers of voters, BBC reports

According to analysis conducted by the BBC, in certain regions of England, fewer than 20 per cent of eligible voters took part in the recent local elections.

The research involved examining the voting patterns of 2,500 council wards since 2012 and identified wide disparities, with significantly less people voting in northern regions of the country.

The data collated showed that: Liverpool's Central ward had the lowest in the country, with just 1,658 votes cast out of an electorate of 13,091 in local elections in 2012; turnout in Liverpool Central only improved significantly when polling day coincided with the General Election, when nearly half of voters returned a ballot; and Hull contained four of the 10 wards where the lowest number of registered voters cast a ballot in the 2012, 2014 and 2015 elections.

The research also observed that while the North housed the highest number of unengaged voters, it also contained areas with most engaged. The Old Laund Booth in Pendle, Lancashire was the booth with highest turnout, where 85 per cent of registered voters used their ballon in 2015.

However, the Electoral Reform Society has warned that it was vital that people turned out to vote.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said: "These figures show that there is a serious democratic deficit in local elections in England.

"Local authorities are central to running so many services - from adult social care, to waste, schools and transport - and with many getting more powers, it's vital people turn out, hold them to account and have their say."

A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission said: “Our research shows that recent home movers, young people, people from some black and minority ethnic communities, and people in rented accommodation are less likely to be registered to vote."

Ingrid Koehler, senior policy researcher at think tank the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), said: "It's disappointing, but not surprising, that some wards across the country appear disengaged based on voter turnout. It's important to remember that many people, including those who don't vote, have regular interactions with local government - far more so than with central government.

"Still, there are many systemic reasons why turnout in local elections is low. For too long, local government has been treated as the delivery arm of national government. As local devolution progresses, hopefully people will see more reason to make the effort to decide who represents them locally."

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