That friday feeling

IF both the general election and the local elections are held on the same day, what are they going to do about the count up? It would be impossible for results to be worked out for both ballots on the same night shift.

In recent years, we’ve had the drama for the general election played out in the Camden Centre in King’s Cross where the two constituencies affecting Camden have been totted up, verified and then the candidates have marched onto the stage for speeches. I say drama – it’s been a while since either Frank Dobson or Glenda Jackson have looked in any trouble. That, however, isn’t the case this time around of course. Particularly in the new seat in Hampstead and Kilburn, the results will be narrow and – who knows? – maybe there will be a few recounts. Certainly, a busy night for the council officials who do a bit of overtimes counting up the votes and clearly no time to tackle the ward by ward council ballot which will decide who runs the Town Hall.

The boroughwide council election votes are normally counted at the Somers Town Sports Centre near South Camden School. We were down there until 4 or 5 am to produce an elections special issue of the New Journal  in 2002 and 2006. A night of high adrenaline for the councillors and their challengers, exciting for local journalists, there is no doubt that if you are into your Town Hall to and fro the gym is transformed into a political theatre. The lateness of the hour, and maybe a bottle or two of beer, only adds to the occasion as a new map of Camden on political territories is drawn up. But that doesn’t seem to be on the cards this year. Thursday May 6 – if that is General Election day – that evening almost certainly be devoted to general election counting and the intriguing battle for overall control of Camden Council will have to play second fiddle. That means the drama of Thursday nights in the

In some parts of the country, as is reported in some of the Sundays today, they aren’t even planning on doing that. Some councils saying everything will be locked away until the start of play on Friday. They will still be counting through the weekend if they are not careful. What does seem likely in Camden, however, is the new make-up of its council – yellow, blue or red again – might not be known until late afternoon on the Friday after voting, an unusually long wait for candidates who will be scratching their eyeballs out with tension.

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  1. Election flashback: Drama in the gym (2006) « Richard Osley

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