Late night election count means a 20-hour day for staff
SO Jonathan Djanogly MP thinks that holding the general election count late on the same evening is part of the mystique of elections (Hunts Post, February 17). In rural seats like Huntingdon (and there are many with even more dispersed polling stations)
SO Jonathan Djanogly MP thinks that holding the general election count late on the same evening is part of the mystique of elections (Hunts Post, February 17).
In rural seats like Huntingdon (and there are many with even more dispersed polling stations) it takes a long time to get all the boxes delivered to a central point. If more than one election is held on the same day, the district council and the general election ballot papers have to be separated and checked. Late postal ballot papers have to be separately verified. Only then can the count start.
This means that the staff, who have already been manning the polling stations from 7am to 10pm, will now be carrying out their tasks through into the middle of the night. Allowing only four hours for the count (ignoring the possibility of a recount) staff would be driving home at three or four in the morning after a 20 hour day. This is a totally unreasonable expectation.
The Conservative Party claims to be 'localist and decentralising'. Here is a straightforward issue where it is obviously best to leave the decision to the returning officer who knows the local situation well. Mr Djanogly's efforts to get every constituency to start counting immediately after the close of polling stations clearly contradict his party's other policies.
He also claims that having the late night count will 'increase the vote'. If people are going to vote at all, they will do so on the basis that there is somebody worth voting for, somebody likely to understand their needs and concerns. Whether or not the count is late that night or early next morning is totally irrelevant.
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