A week on and with the outcome of the election now known there’s a chance to look back at the process at the local level. I was struck by the goodwill, dedication and interest shown by the hundreds of people who worked hard to get a result from the creaking paper system, augmented by the madness of the postal vote system. To have 250 bright people spending a day out in the wilds with nothing but pencils stamps and forms, together with a further 250 spending the night counting, twice, whilst worthwhile given the system we have, is these days needlessly expensive.
The new government is promising legislation on electoral reform and a referendum on the removal of the fist past the post system. Assuming that either are delivered the process could become even more complex, this will be the time for all of us, working with the Electoral Commission, to grasp the challenge of voting system reform, sweep away the onion-like layers of legislation. As David Monks has said, we must set out a new and simpler system for voting, hopefully based on an electronic counting and results process (Link to BBC article on electoral reform).
Meanwhile, anyone who wonders whether their vote counts should be reassured that it does, at least locally. My Council remains with a Liberal Democrat majority of two as a result of one seat being gained with a majority of one vote, this is a huge change as one year a dead heat was decided by the length of a pencil. An important thought for those who had difficulties with polling station access or their postal vote systems. All the more reason to make sure that the system guarantees accuracy as well as being more efficient.