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If the Western Isles can confirm a Thursday night General Election count, it's about time everywhere else did too

SaveElectionNight graphic I wondered several of weeks ago if the latest amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill instructing Returning Officers to count votes on General Election Night was robust enough.

But it would seem to be be having the desired effect. Since I wrote that post the Electoral Commission has posted two updates of when it understands constituencies to be counting the votes at the general election (viewable here and here).

And in the last fortnight or so, no fewer than 90 constituencies have switched from planned Friday counts or being undecided to definite Thursday night counts. Among the seats where General Election Night has already been saved are a considerable number of marginals, including five of the six Cornish seats, all five Edinburgh seats, both Reading seats, Torbay, Weston-super-Mare, Derbyshire South, Worcester, Stafford and Great Yarmouth.

A large number of Scottish seats have also now announced Thursday night counts, including the island constituencies of Orkney & Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) - which begs the question: if they can manage it, having ballot boxes transported by helicopter or boat, then why not everywhere else?

So, as of today, the Electoral Commission suggests that 492 counts are definitely counting on the Thursday night, with 50 still planning on a Friday count. 78 are listed as undecided, 22 may count on the Friday if there are local elections on the same day (which is highly likely), whilst there is no information about 8 constituencies.

Check the latest list to see the intentions of your local Returning Officer and lobby your local council if you live in a seat which is yet to commit to a Thursday night count: a number of Returning Officers still need to be persuaded to count on the Thursday night if the country as a whole can be assured of getting the result of this national election overnight.

I'm expecting the Electoral Commission to publish a further update tomorrow, so will you abreast of developments...

Jonathan Isaby


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