Slow start for Suffolk voters

IT MIGHT be one of the grandest election polling stations in Suffolk - but only a single voter is thought to have turned up during the first hour at Belstead Brook today.

IT MIGHT be one of the grandest election polling stations in Suffolk - but only a single voter is thought to have turned up during the first hour at Belstead Brook today.

A room at the hotel has been turned into a polling station for people living on the Thorington Park estate, part of the Pinewood ward in the Babergh district.

Early today people were busy checking out of the hotel or arriving for work - but the polling station itself remained quiet. A member of staff said only one voter had been seen at the hotel by 8am.

The hotel is being used for the first time as a polling station after it was decided to split Pinewood into two electoral areas to make it easier for those living in the growing Thorington Park area to vote.


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This is the first time that local elections in districts across Suffolk have been held during extended polling hours. Stations are now open from 7am to 10pm rather than from 8am to 9pm.

Past evidence suggests that many more people vote on the way home from work in the late afternoon/early evening rather than first thing.

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Elections are taking place in all districts and boroughs across Suffolk today.

In most the whole authority is up for election, but in Ipswich only a third of the council is being re-elected.

In Suffolk all the councils will be counting their votes tomorrow morning rather than overnight. Results of district and borough counts are expected to be announced by lunchtime and votes in parish and town council elections will be counted during the afternoon.

The change has been introduced this year because returning officers have to operate new security measures in dealing with postal votes but overnight counts are expected to return at the next general election.

As well as local elections across England - except in London - there are national elections in Scotland and Wales today.

Labour is bracing itself for a difficult time as many of the shire districts are already Conservative strongholds and voters are expected to take the opportunity to punish the government for its unpopular policies.

N For the first results from Suffolk councils see tomorrow's Evening Star and our website www.eveningstar.co.uk

n See page 13 for the latest news from Suffolk MP John Gummer, and page 24 for how crime in Suffolk has changed throughout the Blair years.

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