Saturday, 7 May 2011
Waiting for the result....
Just so you know, it shouldn't take seven hours to count fewer than 5000 votes - it really shouldn't. Even when there are three separate elections going on. Yet that was what it took - including well over an hour to validate the contents of just one ballot box. And, in the process 100 (well two bundles) of Bingley Rural postal votes turned up in the Bingley Town count and another 100 Conservative votes (that's my votes) were placed in the Labour pile.
When councils cut corners on organisation, when fussy (and unnecessary) national quangos like the Electoral Commission insist of daft second-guessing, and when lawyers crawl over the counting of votes the result is an unsatisfactory system characterised by mistrust, inefficiency and pointless secondary checks.
I was told that "...the priority is accuracy" - which given the number of errors we observed in the counting process is a glorious irony. I watched counting clerks check the same bundle of votes three - even four times - before banding them! And in one case we had to point out that following this check and recheck and recheck process there were still only 48 votes in the "50 vote" batch!
Seven hours is too long and, in my bones I know, the process was no more accurate than the process used in other places and in times past that took up a great deal less time! Maybe we shouldn't pay the staff by the hour?