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An update on the Save General Election Night campaign as the Commons motion on the issue is re-tabled

SaveElectionNight In October, the Labour MP Tom Harris tabled an early day motion - which was seconded by Eric Pickles - backing the campaign to Save General Election Night.

Despite it being tabled in the last few weeks of the 2008-2009 parliamentary session, 220 MPs signed the motion, making it one of the most supported EDMs of the session - an important sign of the broad cross-party consensus on the issue.

But since EDMs fall at the end of each session, it has been retabled and appears in this new session as EDM 334, but the text is the same:

That this House is concerned at reports that growing numbers of Returning Officers are considering postponing the counting of votes cast on the day of the General Election until the day after polling; believes that in the 21st century it would be a regressive move not to announce constituency results as early as possible; further believes that public confidence in the results could be undermined by delays in the counting of ballot papers and that fewer voters would be able to watch the results being announced if this were done on a Friday afternoon; and calls on local authorities throughout the United Kingdom to ensure that all ballot papers are counted immediately after the close of polls on General Election night, as has been the practice in previous General Elections.

83 MPs from across the Commons have already shown their support for it again, but as before, please lobby your MP to add their signature to the motion if they haven't already done so.

The Guardian reported earlier this week that the BBC was having to prepare an election "night" marathon running through until Friday afternoon because of the refusal of some Returning Officers to count on the night itself.

According to the Electoral Commission's survey of Returning Officers, as of last week 273 counts are confirmed to take place on Election Night with 53 constituencies currently planning on counting on the Friday. Crucially, 154 Returning Officers are saying they are undecided, which means they are hopefully still open to persuasion on a local level.

The campaign's Facebook group is still live and has nearly 6,000 members, so do join that if you haven't done already.

Jonathan Isaby


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