SZ1293 : Littledown: election count underway

taken 5 years ago, near to Throop, Bournemouth, Great Britain

Littledown: election count underway
Littledown: election count underway
Looking over the main hall of SZ1293 : Littledown: the leisure centre at 2:21am on a Friday morning, as the count takes place for the general election for the constituencies of Bournemouth East and Bournemouth West. The poll is combined with the local elections for the borough, and these will be counted on Friday afternoon.

When the polls closed at 10pm last night, polling station staff brought their ballot boxes and paperwork to the centre as quickly as possible. In a marquee out the back these were checked in, making sure that nothing was amiss, and the serial number of the first unused ballot paper in each book noted, which could be compared with the last number given out to ensure no papers are unaccounted for. The ballot boxes only are then swiftly transferred to the main hall.

As this was a joint parliamentary and local election, the first job of the counters was to separate the two types of paper, as both were put into the same ballot box at polling stations. The local ones were green and much longer than the white general election papers, as three councillors are elected to each ward compared with the single MP elected to Westminster.

The picture is taken while most ward counters are still performing this part of the process, although a couple of wards have already started counting the general election papers.

The count staff are occupying the two corridors which have the signboards along them, indicating the ward at each position. The wards on the left-hand side form the Bournemouth East constituency and those on the right Bournemouth West. The staff area extends towards the back of the hall, where the stage can be seen - this is where the returning officer will announce the results.

The candidates, their agents and certain other persons are permitted to observe the count - they can do so along the far left, far right and central aisles. These aisles are connected directly below us (better appreciated in the side-on view SZ1293 : Littledown: another view of the election count). They are able therefore to watch all aspects of the count and can - and many do - sit for fairly long periods at their ward count. They are not allowed to touch the table or the ballots, nor can they interfere or distract the staff.

The entire line of tables therefore forms a zigzagging barrier between the staff and observers' areas.

As a ward finishes counting the votes for each candidate, its ballot papers are taken to an area towards the far left of the hall, where they will be piled up to give the overall picture of who is going to be elected. The piles of 100, and then 1000, votes form a kind of physical bar-chart on the tables, and these are watched with eagerness by the candidates, even where a fully expected result transpires: Bournemouth constituencies are a safe Conservative stronghold and it does not take long to see the proliferation of blue batches.

To the far left, what is usually a viewing gallery for sport is reserved for the media.

Once all the votes have been counted, and the totals at the various stages tally, the result can be declared. We see the mayor declare Bournemouth West at 5:54am here: SZ1293 : Littledown: the Bournemouth West election result is declared and the East constituency 25 minutes later here: SZ1293 : Littledown: the Bournemouth East election result is declared

At around noon, the local election count will be conducted in the same hall and is expected to finish at around 9:30pm.

In the far corner of the room, a television beams the live television coverage to those who wish to watch the national picture develop.

NB the picture is slightly blurred around the edges because of the criss-cross wires within the glass - photography is not permitted within the hall itself during the course of the election.
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SZ1293, 52 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 8 May, 2015   (more nearby)
Friday, 8 May, 2015
Geographical Context
Sport, Leisure  Business, Retail, Services  Suburb, Urban fringe  People, Events 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SZ 1241 9393 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:44.6907N 1:49.5286W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SZ 1242 9394
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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Other Tags
Election  General Election  2015 General Election  Election Count  Sports Hall  Leisure Centre 

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