Will the cold and wet weather affect whether Sheffield residents turn out to vote on Thursday?

For the first time in more than 100 years, a general election is going to be cold and most definitely dark.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 4:00 pm

We’ve all become used to spring elections where we stroll to the polls in mild weather and soft sunlight.

But on Thursday it will start to go dark from 3.45pm and the forecast is for highs of just seven degrees and heavy rain.

The last general election so close to Christmas was in 1910 but it was held over several days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Polling Station at St Thomas Church, Newman Road, Wincobank.

This time, voters will have from 7am to 10pm and it will be just days away from the shortest day of the year.

Richard Caborn, who was a Sheffield MP for 27 years, says the weather definitely has an impact on people turning out to vote.

“If it’s chucking it down, people don’t turn out, some people are definitely dictated to by the weather,” he said.

“If an election is in May or June and it’s nice weather people see voting as a social activity. They’ll go for a pint or take the kids for a walk and vote as part of that. A lot of older people like to have a chat while voting as well.”

Canvassing is also harder in winter as people are less inclined to open their door after dark and many will be out at Christmas festivities.

Age UK Sheffield is advising older people to vote early before it gets dark and wrap up warm.

Its chief executive Steve Chu said: “Ask for support and see if a friend or loved one can go with you to vote.

“Plan your route ahead of time. If you know the best way to travel to your polling station, you’ll feel more confident about the journey there. Whether that’s taking a look at your bus route and timetable, or finding the shortest and safest walking route from your home.

“If you know people who are worried about getting to the polls, ask if they would like to go with you or travel as a group. If the weather is bad you could share a taxi.”