When to count the election votes

With little over 70 days until Cornwall takes to the polls for Cornwall Council and Parish/Town Elections, the subject of when to count the votes needs to be discussed. There are two schools of thought on this; straight after the polls close and the following day. Both ways have their pros and cons and it is the Returning Officers job to say when the count takes place.

However, before the final decision is taken, Cornwall Council’s Electoral Review Panel were asked for their view. This panel met today and the two options were discussed.

Those for an overnight count like it because results are declared early, process is generally completed by 10 am the following day, some Candidates and Agents like it, and broadcasters and journalists like it, too. There is also the added ‘excitement’ on the count being done so soon.

Against the overnight count is the impact on polling, counting and verification staff with the council having a duty of care. The council would have to provide transport for these staff. It also would require more staff because polling station staff could not be used in the verification and count duties. Less likely to be mistakes caused by fatigue.

There is also the issue of costs. For an overnight count, the amount is around £97,280, but a following day count, the cost is reduced to £72,720, a difference of £24,560.

After a short debate the members of the Electoral Review Panel supported unanimously the option for the count to take place the following day. This recommendation will now be put to the Returning Officer who will make the final call.


  • Having attended a few Counts in my time, the atmosphere is much better at Counts that start after the polling closes. But I don’t think that it’s worth the extra cost!

  • worried worker

    Sounds good to me Andrew. I agree with Sandy; the night counts are exciting but not worth the extra cost…which is a shame as I enjoyed the overtime 😉

  • mick martyn

    Hi Andrew

    I know this is not related to this thread but didnt know how else to ask – is that partnership thing with BT dead in the water now? Its all gone very quiet since the health pulled out so i assume that you have saved the day and it has all been canned?


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