Wednesday, 12 May 2010

When to count the ballot papers

The Morecambe and the Lancaster constituencies counted their ballot papers on Friday morning. The reason for this is because we didn't want the staff to work through the whole of polling day and then through the night. I thought this was the reason but I heard on Radio Lancashire that the change of day was because the constituencies were so big.

I have often written about Morecambe's traffic problems. It can take a long time to get through Lancaster, but traffic isn't too bad at 10pm when the polling stations closed. I reckon that all the ballot boxes could be back at the count within thirty minutes. Let's be generous and say it takes 45 minutes. So why does it take so much longer to count the ballot papers in my area? I heard the Morecambe result as it was announced at 3.15pm (counting started at 9am) and the Lancaster result was declared some time after this. It took six hours fifteen minutes for the count to take place. If it had started when polling closed it would have finished at 5am!

All the volunteers who worked for the parties would have been up all day and all night and then attended the count. I don't think it would be too difficult for council staff who get paid for their day to finish their count much quicker than they did, and to carry on when the polls close.

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