Posted tagged ‘polling station’

Missing the point

May 9, 2011

Only asking those who will give you a good answer

Even casual observers of this blog will know that we were big election day supporters of the local government staff who worked such long hours to ensure that last week’s elections went off without incident.

However, my general feeling of good will to my fellow local government workers was slightly punctured when I popped into my local polling station late on Thursday evening.

There was nothing wrong with the service I received. The process was efficient, the staff were friendly and the polling station was well signposted. I received my polling card and like a good (and slightly anal) citizen had it with me when I popped off to vote.

The slight souring of my mood happened as I went to leave the polling station. The very friendly senior returning officer (he had a badge: another tick) stopped me and asked if I would be willing to fill in a feedback survey and send it back in the kindly provided freepost envelope. Being a strong believer in collecting feedback and acting on residents’ opinions I took my form and headed home.

Once home I realised the futility of the evaluation; one which has lessons for many other local government consultations.


Election Day

May 5, 2011

"Vote early and vote often"

As you read this post, up and down the country people will be flocking to the polls and casting their votes. They might be voting in elections for the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments or the Northern Irish Assembly. They might be voting in local government elections or they might be voting in a referendum on AV. They might be doing all three.

However, no matter which election they’ll be voting in one thing will be the same across the nation: the whole process will be facilitated by staff from your local authority.

It started early this morning as a small army of local authority workers set off to prepare the school halls, doctors surgeries, community halls and council buildings that serve as polling stations. They will start working at 6:30am and finish at 10pm when the responsible officer in each polling station will ensure that the sealed ballot boxes are delivered to the counting hall.

In many authorities another tribe of officers will be there at 10pm to count the votes as they come in, many working until early into the next morning to make sure democracy runs its proper course in a timely manner.