Lewisham under fire over election plans

Lewisham Council is one of several which are considering holding the vote-counting for the next general election the day after the poll, rather than overnight.

Several councils, including Newcastle upon Tyne, have already opted to hold their counts the following day. They argue that it will be cheaper and will help to minimise errors.

Political junkies, however, are cross because they say it will spoil the drama of election night coverage.

Given that Brockley's MP Joan Ruddock had a 11,811 majority in the 2005 general election, BC doubts that a later count would even be noticed by most people in the borough. But it would be a shame to lose the traditional overnight viewing marathon.

9 comments:

Sue said...

I think the likelihood of a general and local election on the same day next year will be making a lot of local authorities considering splitting the count (local in the evening, general the next, or vice versa). Especially when you add to that the mayoral elections for boroughs such as Lewisham, Newham and Hackney with directly-elected mayors.

In 2006 Lewisham was piloting electronic counting for the locals and mayoral election, which seemed to work, but still took until about 3am to finish. It was rather tedious for all those at the count too as none of us could tell how things were going, as you only get to see the spoilt papers or those needing adjudication!

Brockley Kate said...

Interesting point Sue! If the local and general are on the same day I'd definitely prefer it if they did the general count first, in the evening.

I have fond memories of covering an all-night count for the 2001 election ... but I prefer to participate from the comfort of my sofa these days!

Anonymous said...

There really must be a way to do this in a an instant, automated and accurate computerised fashion. Counting bits of paper in 2009 just doesn't feel right.

Of course, the usual crowd will come out screaming about their civil liberties and the 1984 state.

old letch said...

Seems to be plenty of religion and politics on the blog today, when do we get the thread on sex?

What do you expect with a name like mine?

Jedd Bush said...

automated eh Anon?

Hanging chards anyone?

Tamsin said...

(Pedantry striking - "chads" not "chards" and an interesting back formation from the name "Chadless", like "maffick" from "Mafeking".) But I rather agree - surely paper is still more transparently open to after the event scrutiny and we are still at the stage of having to be careful not to disenfranchise the non-computerate.

Both these factors will change in due course, but not yet.

Does anyone else find it vaguely reassuring that the issues surrounding the Afghan election are so "normal" given the history of the country ever since the Russian invasion and the present state of war there?

Sue said...

I think there are two things here - automated counting of paper ballot papers, and voting electronically ie without a paper ballot paper. The former gets more desirable when you're dealing with proportional representation systems, eg single transferable vote, alternative vote etc, which would take a long time to count manually. The latter I am wary of, as it seems open to abuse, difficult to check and if the system crashes votes may get lost.

patrick1971 said...

I always have a few friends round on election nights and take the next day off work. This next one should be a good 'un; a government people hate and an opposition they don't really want.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Patrick - it even throws up the possibility of someone like The Green Party winning almost entirely by accident, their winners speech being "oh f**k, now what?!"

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