Who will first time voters in Flintshire and Wrexham back tomorrow?

Reporter:

David Humphreys and Steve Craddock

With the election one day away, have first-time voters made their minds up?

David Humphreys and Steve Craddock try to find out.

 

Weeks of campaigning and persuasion will come to an end tomorrow when voters put their ‘X’ on the ballot form, in what is expected to be a closer election than first thought.

For some of the electorate though, it will be an even more important and significant occasion, as they go to the polls for the first time.

In 2015, when the Conservatives won an outright majority for the first time since 1992, more than 15 million registered voters – more than a third of the electorate – did not visit their polling station on election day.

In context, the Tories – led by David Cameron back then – only won 11.3m votes, so those who didn’t turn out last time could win a majority for any of the parties should they do so this time.

Ahead of polling day, the Leader spoke to new voters across Flintshire and Wrexham to find out what caused them to swing towards taking part in the process this time.

Simon Parker, 24, who lives in Wrexham, said he and partner Eleanor Jones will back Labour.

He said: “I hope Theresa May doesn’t win. We use the NHS quite a lot because we’re both disabled and both ill.

“We think Theresa May is trying to privatise the NHS.”

Eleanor Jones, 20, from Wrexham, said she was also concerned about Mrs May’s stance on foxhunting, adding: “I’m hoping Labour win.

“We’ve already voted Labour by post.”

Connor Jones, a 22-year-old student from Wrexham, said: “I’m a Conservative so Theresa May is probably going to win.

“But Jeremy Corbyn is communicating well, better than Theresa May. He is really capturing the under-25s.

“They will probably turn out better than Theresa May expects.

“I think it will be the opposite of the Donald Trump scenario, where everyone expects the underdog to win.

“I don’t think he will and I don’t think he will accept a coalition.

“Obviously with the recent terror threats I think leadership is a major issue that has played to Theresa May’s advantage.

“Jeremy Corbyn seems like a weak leader.”

Mr Jones said while he anticipates a Tory victory nationally, he does expect Wrexham Labour candidate Ian Lucas to hold on to his seat.

According to polls, Mrs May’s Conservatives have seen their lead cut in half since she called the snap election on April 18 – with some only having her marginally ahead.

It is Mr Corbyn’s message that won over father-of-two Rob Tagg-Angell, from Queensferry.

He said: “To be honest I don’t know much about politics but Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign seems stronger than May’s.

“Also she has backtracked on a lot of things she’s said. She was going to, then a day or two later denied it.

“I was brought up in a Labour-run country and those days were better. That’s why Labour are getting my vote this time.”

Mr Tagg-Angell explained why he’d chosen to vote now rather than in previous elections.

“I’ve never really known the importance of it if I’m being honest,” he said.

“I was going to vote in 2015 but didn’t register in time.

“I have looked into it a bit since then, knowing people fought for us to have an opinion made me rethink voting.”

Ashleigh Oldfield, 21, from Mold, is backing Labour as well tomorrow.

She said: “It’s my first time voting.

“I’ve never felt like I’ve had to or really got into it much, but this time round I feel like my vote could change everything.

“I’m pleased with what I’ve seen from the leaders and I’ve seen enough to make a solid decision.

“I’ve never followed politics until now, I’ve watched Conservative governments cripple our NHS, put us at risk by cutting our emergency services, hit people with the cruel bedroom tax, take away money from disabled.

“We have food banks in this day and age so I decided to my vote has to be with Jeremy Corbyn, a man who is for the many not the few, a man who will make us feel safer with more police, ensure our NHS isn’t privatised, give us a decent living minimum wage, deal with the bedroom tax situation.

“I believe this man will achieve great things and make history.”

Callum Owen-Bacon, from Connah’s Quay, is also a newbie voter. He said he’d be casting his first vote alongside his wife, Paige – another first-timer.

He said: “I’ve never registered to vote before.

“Even when I was in the Army I never used to follow politics at all.

“I registered last year before the [EU] referendum, but not in time for that vote. I believe it will be important for the future of the country as a lot of younger people missed out on the Brexit vote.

“I always used to think my one vote wouldn’t make a difference, but with a 52 per cent to 48 per cent Brexit vote, those single votes may have proved more important.

“Plus I work 60 plus hour weeks and always paid tax so my vote is just as important as the next.”

By now, voters will have received polling cards instructing when and where to vote.

If the card is lost, voting is still possible and polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.

They are located in public buildings like schools or local halls.

Staff will ask for your name and address on arrival. Polling cards are not needed on the day.

A ballot paper will be given out containing a list of the people, parties or the options available.

The rest is up to you and the fate of the country lies in your hands.

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