Poll backs call to save all-night election count

By Jon Ashford

The public has added its voice to a mounting campaign to keep the traditional all-night general election vote count – rather than move it to the following morning.

A survey for the Local Government Association (LGA) found over 50 per cent of respondents preferred the election night format remain the same.

Just 22 per cent backed moving the count to Friday morning.

Twenty-seven per cent said they didn’t mind when the votes were counted.

The results of the poll indicate a clear majority support the all-night format among the public and, given the vocal support coming from a number of party figures, across the political spectrum as well.

Margaret Eaton, of the LGA, said that “council staff” were “huge enthusiasts” and would be doing everything they could to “get the right results to voters as quickly as they can”.

But she also maintained that individual councils had the right to decide how best to run the count.

“It’s right that each area decides how to run elections, because some constituencies cover huge rural areas while others will have to contend with large numbers of postal votes which have to be carefully verified. There are also many areas where votes have traditionally been counted on a Friday,” she said.

Speaking to politics.co.uk a spokesperson for Lewisham borough council said that the parliamentary count posed a significant administrative challenge, particularly in London boroughs.

“From a purely administrative point of view I would, as an admin, favour the Friday count. As a voter I can see why it would make a lot of sense to count after the close of poll,” he said.

But he concluded that the vote would “probably be counted on Thursday”.

The poll commissioned by the LGA, and performed by ComRes, interviewed 1,045 residents of Great Britain, across a wide age range.