Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Cornwall set to become last to declare General Election results

There has been a big rumpus in political circles over the decision by many councils to hold the counts for the general election on the Friday rather than the Thursday night. Cornwall is set to become one of those councils. Indeed, it is likely that the Cornish results will be the last in mainland UK to be declared.

And, what is more, it seems that we will not have a count in each constituency but instead have two major count centres with each hosting the count for three contests. The count centres look likely to be Carn Brea Leisure Centre and a site near Dobwalls.

Both these decisions will be controversial.

There has been a campaign recently to 'save general election night' - in other words to have the counts on the Thursday night rather than Friday. I think this is a bit of a false campaign in that we have had lots of Friday counts over the years. The most important aspect is to make sure that we get the right result - not the fastest result. That said, I do like the drama of election night and would prefer counts to be held on Thursday rather than Friday.

What is most disappointing is that it seems that Cornwall will be one of the last areas to declare as the counts will not even start until the Friday afternoon. I'm not sure that this is the right image for the County to send to the UK as a whole. The late results will imply that we cannot get our act together.

As for holding counts locally rather than in regional centres, I take the view that counts should be as transparent as possible. That means having them locally and trying to give local electors the chance to view the work in action. I am disappointed that it seems that the history of local counts is being abandoned.

Whilst councillors, MPs and others can froth at the mouth about these decisions, the ultimate decision will be for the Returning Officer - the Council's Chief Executive Kevin Lavery.

1 comment:

Paul Walter said...

Agree with you that - from memory - St. Ives and North Cornwall have declared on a Friday since Acland was an MP. But leaving the boxes sealed for Friday morning is a bit much.