Local Elections 2021 digest — May 5 — engaging readers through politics video and the party not standing for fear of losing deposits
At BehindLocalNews we’re shining a spotlight on the great work going on by local reporters up and down the country ahead of the May 6 elections.
With less than 24-hours to go until polling stations open it’s going to be a different type of election — with much of the counting taking place during Friday day-time and Covid-secure measures in place at polling stations and counts.
On BehindLocalNews we’re going to be rounding up some of the great work being done by local journalists across print, digital, TV, radio, social media, hyperlocals and wherever else you find your local coverage of the elections.
In our latest round-up we put a spotlight on how video has been utilised to engage potential voters and give candidates a platform to explain their views to replace more traditional hustings or campaigning methods which have been suspended because of social distancing measures and restrictions.
Everything you need to know
As well as writing out all the key info for the elections, political journalists have been bringing their understanding and contacts to the fore to explain the importance and expected issues/crunch seats in the elections.
The LiverpoolEcho’s political editor Liam Thorp gave readers an explanation of all they needed to know on a knife-edge and complex election expected in Merseyside.
In the 2-minute clip, Thorp sets out the scene and gives Echo readers everything they need to know — especially about the second choice vote process in the election.
Down in Bristol and the race to be Mayor saw a virtual hustings held by BristolLive. It’s been condensed down into a 9-minute highlights reel for readers to get a feel for each candidate and what they believe in — meaning you can see and hear, rather than just read about their pledges to voters.
And at LeedsLive there’s an in-depth explainer of the new West Yorkshire Metro Mayor, created as part of the devolution deal for Yorkshire in 2020. It’s a new position on the ballot paper for voters across Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale and Wakefield so this explainer video gives voters the key things they need to know about the new role which will have a £38million-a-year budget.
Greens pull out of police and crime commissioner elections
The Hampshire Green Party said the deposit of £5,000 needed to stand in the police and crime commissioner had put them off fielding a candidate.
Local democracy reportrer, Maria Zaccaro at the Southern Daily Echo, reported on the Greens explaining their decision and calling the fee ‘undemocratic’.
A statement from the local Greens said: “Hampshire Green Party has taken a decision not to pay the £5,000 deposit to enter the Hampshire ballot as this fee is exorbitant and so bars us from participating in part of our democracy.”
The Electoral Commission said: “The fees and criteria to stand are not set by the Commission. Lowering the fees is something that would require legislation to be passed by Parliament, and we have called on the UK’s Government to do so.”
Meeting Sefton’s first non-binary council candidate
The LiverpoolEcho went to meet Billie Jo Gibson, the first openly non-binary candidate standing for Sefton Council.
Local democracy reporter Christopher McKeon spoke to Mx Gibson who said: “My identity shouldn’t be the main focus, it should be standing up for the community.
“It shouldn’t matter. What should matter is that the person is genuine. It needs to be normalised, being non-binary or trans, so it should be a little bit important in that regard, but it’s only a detail at the end of the day.”
Previous local election digests:
Spotted a good local election story? Have some reporting that your newsroom wants to shout about? Please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the Local Elections round-up. The story can be about any election taking place on May 6. We’ll be back next week with more Elections 2021 news!