A large majority of people appear to be unaware they will be able to vote for Leicestershire's first elected police and crime commissioner in two months' time.
A poll of 150 people by the Leicester Mercury found that 82 per cent did not know about the election – which will take place on November 15 – or what the job will entail.
Furthermore, 74 per cent of those who took part in the poll in the city centre last week said they did not intend to vote.
The police commissioner – who will earn approximately £70,000 a year – will replace the police authority, which has set police budgets, appointed senior officers and scrutinised the force's performance.
Leicestershire's three candidates said they were concerned but not surprised by the results. The Electoral Reform Society has predicted 18.5 per cent of people would vote.
Labour's Sarah Russell, assistant mayor of Leicester, said: "The Government needs to be thinking of ways of raising awareness because we are only a couple of months away from the election. I have been into every constituency and all I'm hitting is people who don't understand the role.
"At the moment, we have no idea how many are going to vote."
Conservative candidate, retired Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader, said: "The candidates are doing everything we can to talk to as many people as possible and to get the public debate going. I hope the Government can do that.
"The Leicester Mercury has already done a lot to raise awareness, but hopefully the national and other local media will do so, too."
Independent candidate Suleman Nagdi, a Leicester businessman and community worker, said: "It is worrying that so few people know about the election and have indicated they intend not to use their votes. Nobody wants to be elected to such an important post with a share of such a small proportion of the community."