Sunday, February 28, 2010

Djanogly still wants an overnight count! Why?

In an online article entitled "Hunts MP Claims Victory...." Djanogly claims victory by getting an amendment inserted into a Bill currently going through Parliament.

Yet Parliament has yet to pass this Bill. Even once the Bill has got Royal Assent it is up to the civil service to produce guidelines which then needs to get Parliamentary approval. Claiming victory is very premature. The Electoral Commission has a different view of this amendment. The Commission states:
"The Government has previously accepted that there should be no changes to electoral law for the six months prior to an election to ensure everyone who needs to can make the necessary preparations for it. Clearly any departure from this would need to be very carefully considered."

Why does Djanogly still want an overnight count?

I don't know. Initially I put this down to Djanogly wanting to get back to his family home in Westminster, London and wait for the call from David Cameron. I still feel this is a major element. In the article Djanogly says:

"If we want to increase the vote and keep people's interest in the ballot, then elections should not lose their mystique. It is unacceptable that a minority of constituencies can put the government of the country on hold for a day. We just have to hope now that the mechanics can be put in place."

The main reason why the electorate is turned off is the political parties have given up on us. I've been banging on about how there has been no political literature since last June. Djanogly has yet to get his Winter Edition out to his constituents. The local political websites are very bad with nothing or little added in one case since 2008. This why there is political apathy. The political parties have given up and the electorate has followed suit.

I agree with David Monks on this. The article states: "Mr Monks has said it is unreasonable to expect his staff to work what is for some a 24-hour shift - he says accuracy is the priority and not entertainment."

This is very true. Election counts must not be driven by the media. Whilst other countries do count overnight they have shorter polling hours. Although Canada has a FPTP system their counts are done on the night on a provisional basis. The US General Elections are called by the media before the votes are counted. Indeed many candidates are "elected" before the official votes are counted and certified.

Even if the ballots are counted later in the morning of the next day the Government this will not as Djanogly puts it "...can put the government of the country on hold for a day". 8 hours at most.

If the MPs want an overnight election count they should write election law to get to that point. Rather than passing rash laws and foisting the logistics onto the Returning Officers.

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