Much quicker results flow on 8 June 2017?

David Cowling says 2017 will be the first general election in 25 years to be held with no other elections taking place on the same day meaning a much faster flow of individual results.

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  • David Cowling Independent Political Analyst
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This article has been written independently by David Cowling and does not necessarily reflect the views of Ipsos MORI.

8 June 2017 will mark the first general election in 25 years to be held with no other elections taking place on the same day. One consequence will be a much faster flow of individual results.

In the period beginning in 1997 and through to 2015, the early flow of general election constituency results on election night slowed to barely a trickle, mainly because during that period local elections of various sorts were held on the same day. The delay is caused by the fact that although the local elections are counted after the parliamentary constituency results are declared, the local votes have to be ‘verified’ when they arrive at the count centres on Thursday night. This ‘verification’ involves opening the ballot boxes containing local votes, checking that the number of votes in each box matches the record of the number of votes handed to voters throughout polling day; and also, checking that no parliamentary votes have found their way into ballot boxes containing local votes.

The 1992 general election was the last where only voting for Westminster took place and on election night that year, by 1am, three hours after the polls closed, 156 constituency results had been declared (24% of the total): at the 2015 general election the comparable figure was 5 results (0.8% of the total) declared by 1am.

The 7 May 2015 election night was a particularly long haul because local elections were held in nearly all of England (outside London) that same day. In 1992, 57 seats (8.8%) declared after 4am Friday morning; in 2010, the comparable figures were 333 seats (51.2%); and in 2015, 474 seats declared after 4am Friday morning – 72.9% of the total.

Time of General Election Declarations 1983, 1992-2015

The table below sets out the flow of individual constituency declarations for the last six general elections, plus 1983. I was able to piece it together with the help of my friend and former ITN colleague, Chris Long, to whom I am very grateful. We cannot assume that the flow will revert to the exact tempo of either 1983 or 1992. However, it is safe to assume that the flow of results this June will be significantly quicker than at any general election over the past 20 years.

 

 

1983

1992

1997

2001

2005

2010

2015

Thursday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10pm -midnight

  6

 10

  4

  5

  4

  3

    3

Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight - 1am

115

146

  52

  76

  32

   8

    2

1am - 2am

311

308

155

167

130

  51

  12

2am - 3am

115

114

164

190

189

116

  52

3am - 4am

 16

 16

140

120

130

139

107

4am – 10am

   7

  3

114

 76

134

298

453

10am – 12 noon

   9

  6

   4

  4

   3

    6

    7

12 noon – 1pm

  38

21

  2

  2

   2

    6

    5

1pm – 2pm

  16

11

  5

  -

   1

  10

    7

2pm – 3pm

    5

10

  9

  2

   2

    4

    1

after 3pm

  12

 6

10

17

  18

    9

    1


David Cowling is an independent Political Analyst.

The author(s)

  • David Cowling Independent Political Analyst

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