The theatre of election night will still count

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THE traditional overnight counting of votes should be 
retained for Scottish Parliament elections, the Electoral Commission has recommended.

This year’s local elections in May saw counts throughout Scotland postponed to the next day. Returning officers have often argued next-day counts are more efficient because staff are fresh.

But commission chairwoman Jenny Watson said: “We are rightly proud of our democratic tradition of overnight change in government and the theatre of election night.

“Candidates and political parties, having campaigned hard, want results as soon as possible, and returning officers and their staff work hard to deliver accurate and timely results.”

After a consultation involving politicians, returning officers and others, the independent elections watchdog said there was no single “right” answer to preventing future controversies over the timing of counts, but it claimed its recommendations could 
minimise them.

A recent change in the law requires Westminster general election counts to begin within four hours of close of polling.