Voters go to polls to choose new Doncaster mayor

Doncaster's Council's chief executive and Mayoral election returning officer Jo Miller (centre) and election team members Sara Youngs (left) and Tina Knight are pictured surrounded by ballot boxes at the Council's Civic Office.

Doncaster's Council's chief executive and Mayoral election returning officer Jo Miller (centre) and election team members Sara Youngs (left) and Tina Knight are pictured surrounded by ballot boxes at the Council's Civic Office.

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Voters are going to the polls today to elect a new mayor of Doncaster.

Polling opened at 7am this morning and will close at 10pm tonight, with votes being counted tomorrow and the victor likely to be announced after lunchtime.

But there are fears of voter apathy and the turnout at the ballot box could be low, with election officials hoping for an increase on the 2009 turnout when just over a third of the electorate cast their vote.

One voter, Sean Wallace, said: “I would love to vote but no-one has shown an interest to pop any information on what they are going to do for Doncaster through my door.”

Another, John Elwick, said: “I haven’t a clue who is putting up for mayor. I’ve had nothing through the door, but that’s nothing new here in Askern.”

And Shirley Teale said: “All politicians are as bad as each other.

“They lie to get voted in, then never actually do anything good. I will not be voting.”

Doncaster Council confirmed that 60,000 postal votes have been sent out to electors over the past few weeks and, to date, slightly more than half have been returned - although voters have until the polls close at 10pm tonight to return their votes.

Thousands more will be voting in person at ballot boxes across the area, with schools, community centres and public halls all opening up their doors as polling stations for the day.

The authority’s returning officer and chief executive Jo Miller has urged voters to get out and cast their vote and said: “It is important that people in Doncaster vote today and choose their mayor.

“These are your local services so make your voice heard.”

Incumbent mayor Peter Davies is hoping to secure a second term in office after his shock victory four years ago.

Doncaster is one of the few places in the country which operates an elected mayoral system.

Voters were given the chance to reject the system last year but more than 60 per cent voted in favour of keeping it.

Ten candidates are contesting the election. They are: David Allen (English Democrats), John Brown (Liberal Democrats), Peter Davies (Independent), Martin Drake (Conservative), Mary Jackson (Trade Unions and Socialists Against Cuts), Ros Jones (Labour), Michael Maye (Independent), Dave Owen (National Front), Tony Ward (Independent) and Doug Wright (Save Your Services).