Jenny Watson warns Friday Returning Officers to get it right

Speaking to the conference of the Association of Electoral Administrators, the Electoral Commission’s Jenny Watson warned those planning to hold general election counts on Friday rather than Thursday night that,

There may not be a lot of sympathy for a count that declares the next day and doesn’t appear to be run efficiently.

Jenny Watson did also highlight the need to ensure accuracy saying,

It is entirely appropriate for returning officers to decide to hold the count the next day – if they are clear that this is necessary to ensure an accurate result.

But as I’ve previously pointed out, the evidence from past counts is that it is poor systems, rather than tired people, which make for badly run counts. Simply delaying a count from Thursday night to Friday will not make a poorly run count better. That is one of the reasons why advocates of Thursday night counting, such as the Save General Election Night campaign, argue that counts can be, and have been, done accurately on the night.

Hat-tip: The Guardian for reporting Jenny Watson’s speech.

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