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Voting changes at election counts

A ballot box
A ballot box

Voters in Kent could be kept waiting longer than normal to discover who their MP is when the next general election is held.

The traditional drama of staying up late for results could become a thing of the past as returning officers across the county weigh up whether to move to daytime counting on Friday.

If they do, it could hold up the national result as Kent’s marginal constituencies are viewed as critical in determining who will run the country.

The move to daytime counting follows a trend towards declaring local election results the day after polling, as happened with this year’s county council election results.

Two councils have already signalled they are likely to break with tradition and move to counts on Friday.

Political commentator Jonathan Isaby hopes to safeguard election night

Swale council said it was "fairly likely" to move, particularly if the general election dovetailed with scheduled local elections.

Canterbury City Council also said it was expecting to switch. A spokesman said counters were less likely to be tired and make mistakes. "We are hoping for a Friday count," he said.

Several others contacted by the KM Group said they were keeping their options open and remained undecided.

Read Paul Francis' political blog on this here>>>

The prospect of results being declared the day after polling has prompted a campaign aimed at keeping the tradition of overnight counts.

Polling station stock
Polling station stock

Opponents say it would end the traditional drama and excitement associated with the declaration of results and would be an insult to voters.

Political commentator Jonathan Isaby has launched a "Save General Election Night" Facebook campaign to keep overnight counting.

He said: "People want to know not only their own election results but what the outcome is nationally. In a county like Kent, you have a lot of marginal seats and unless all those seats count together on Thursday night you won’t actually get the national result until possibly late on Friday. These marginals are crucial seats and are where the national election will be won or lost."

The move away from overnight counts has also come under fire from one Kent MP. Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour MP Derek Wyatt, who is standing down, said: "It will take away some of the excitement. When the votes are in, they should be counted straightaway."

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