Monday, September 7, 2009

Elections Should be Decided on the Night.

There is a move to begin General Election counts on the Friday morning and not as soon as the polls shut at 10pm on the Thursday night.

For most the last two centuries, only the far flung constituencies counted the next day. They were the most rural of rural seats, where travel times to the counts were in hours, a large number of boxes had to be transported [holding only a few precious votes in each] and, in Scotland, sometimes this involved movement by boat. In previous centuries, the elections themselves were spread out over weeks.

But today, for the rest of the country, the deed is done by the early hours of the morning and so we knew the nature of the government before dawn*. It is worth asking who the delay benefits? The public expect a speedy service, and they are right to do so. Election counting is no exception.

There is an excellent post on Conservative Home setting out why the Thursday count should be kept. See

Cambridge City Conservative Councillor Chris Howell is taking this issue up locally.


*There is one recent exception, 1992: "The Conservatives knew the result before midnight, Labour accepted the result in the early morning, and the BBC did not concede until well into the next day".

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