Friday, January 22, 2010

David Monks is right over an Election Night Count

There was an interview with The Speaker about retaining election night counts on the Daily Politics Show. In reply to The Speaker was David Monks, Chief Executive of HDC, talking about some of the difficulties imposed by Parliament. Lets no forget it is Parliament that has imposed all these extra requirements. It is also Parliament that is complaining when laws they impose means overnight counts can't go ahead.

The main points The Speaker made for an overnight count were:

Credibility and Legitimacy - Er...Don't really know what The Speaker is on about here.

Security of the ballot - I refer The Speaker to the ability of political parties to seal each ballot box. If Parliament was that worried about the security of the ballot then Parliament should have legislated to make ALL counts overnight!

The construction of the New Government - Whether the Government is in the morning or in the afternoon doesn't really matter. Many other countries have to wait for months for a Government to be formed.

Financial Markets - This is such a non-argument. So what! Close the markets for the day.

Whilst we do live in 24 hour media age, the counting of the ballots takes time. The US Presidential Elections of 2000 were pushed by the media to declare the result as soon as possible. But the legislation behind voting allowed ballots with an election day post mark to be counted. So what the media wanted was an instant result. What the US legislators and courts allowed was a longer time to count.

The same disconnection is going on here. Parliament legislates for more hours and more postal voting security, but then expects everything to run the same. It won't and can't. I agree with David Monks. Lets us have a properly conducted count with a result we can rely on. If Djanogly and the other MPs have to wait for the result then let them wait. Otherwise change the law!

Speaker Bercow interview BBC
David Monks reply - BBC
Liberal Democrat Voice article on 1872 Ballot Act

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