Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Response From the Electoral Commission

A couple of days ago I wrote a blogpost explaining how I felt the Electoral Commission was dragging its heels over issuing guidance to local councils over whether they should conduct election night counts. A spokesman for the Commission has been in touch and I thought you'd like to read their views on the issue.


I read your blog this morning ("Night Counts: The Electoral Commission Drags Its Feet) and thought it might be helpful to explain what we're doing and why.

We started work on draft guidance as soon as the new clause was added to the Bill last week. Prior to this the most recent change to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (on 9 February) had required the Secretary of State to produce guidance, something we objected to at the time on the grounds that it compromised an important principle of the way elections are run. We therefore welcomed the change agreed last Tuesday that gave this responsibility to the Electoral Commission.

Although we cannot, by law, publish final guidance until the Bill receives Royal Assent we plan to circulate our draft guidance as soon as we can to all Returning Officers. We expect to do that in the next few days.

We also wrote to Returning Officers in September setting out our views on election night counting and made clear that they would need to explain the reasons for decisions they make.

As you know we've been collecting information about when Returning Officers plan to count and we update this every Monday on the link below HERE:

I'm sure you'll want to share this response with your readers and I'd be very happy for you to do that.

Best wishes


Alex Robertson
Head of Media and Public Affairs

I'm not sure that takes us much further forward, to be honest, but it is good of them to comment.


Oldrightie said...

Still seems a shadowy answer. Fraud does take time as does finding and stuffing "new" boxes. Ask Karzei!

Lauchlan McLean said...

Heels are on shoes

Victor, NW Kent said...

Heels Iain, not heals.

Douglas said...

Given that in your original post you were fairly damning about the Electoral Commission I find it strange that you are not more conciliatory.

You wrote: Unbelievably, they refuse to do this until the Bill gains Royal Assent (assuming this is during the wash up in the last hours of the old parliament (on 8-9 April), this gives Returning Officers only 17 working days to reach a decision).

Since they said they cant, BY LAW, surely you should accept that your original post was a little too premature in its faux anger.

JMB said...

You might interested to hear that Highland Council (with one of the largest areas in the UK) will be counting overnight.

No time switch for Highland election counts