VOTES are today being counted after people in Burton and South Derbyshire went to the polls to help decide the fate of the European Parliament.
Following a week of furious last-ditch campaigning in high streets across the Midlands, candidates have done all they can to secure votes and now face an anxious 48-hour wait to hear the results, which are announced on Sunday.
Much of the build-up to the elections focused on how many people would actually vote, with the futures of councils in East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire not at stake this time around. For this region, it was solely a vote for a Parliament which sits in another country.
It was, however, the last chance to make their voices heard before next year’s General Election.
The level of interest was perhaps best summed up by staff at Outwoods Primary School, in Harehedge Lane, who reported a ‘slow but steady’ turnout.
While there was constant activity at Stretton’s Priory Centre, voters, mainly of the older generation, trickled in.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said he supported calls for Britain to exit Europe.
He said: “It’s important to vote. I think most people who are voting today are unhappy at being in the EU.
“I’m interested to see if Farage (Nigel, UKIP leader) can do what he says he can.”
In contrast, another Stretton voter had come out to show his support for the EU.
He said: “I don’t normally vote in these things but I think the anti-European brigade are getting too much of a say.
“Being in the EU is important, it’s good for jobs.”
Britain is one of eight countries which uses a ‘closed list’ system, which means voters choose a party rather than an individual.
Some 375 million people were registered to vote across Europe.