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Tributes paid to election staff after 'quiet night'

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Chief executive of the Association of Electoral administrators John Turner has paid tribute to election staff after results were delivered without any major problems.

About 32.2 million people voted in the general election with a turnout of about 69 per cent.

There were reports yesterday of up to 100 students at Keele University being turned away from polling stations in the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency.

A spokesperson for Newcastle-under-Lyme BC said many had not properly completed their registration forms.

Mr Turner told LGC any potential problem would have to be looked at, but added that overall it had been a “quiet night” despite some concerns following recent terror attacks in Manchester and London.

He added: “Mercifully there were no problems in terms of security and I think everybody would have breathed a huge sigh of relief.”

The count in the Kensington constituency has been suspended this morning following two recounts. Conservative officials are reportedly challenging a surprise narrow win for Labour and a result is now not expected until this evening or tomorrow.

Mr Turner said he did not have a “feel” that there had been more recounts than usual and said the returning officer in Kensington could order a quicker recount by carrying out checks on bundles of ballot papers rather than individual votes.

Mr Turner praised all elections staff for their efforts. 

“Without the commitment of these very dedicated people who are totally committed to making sure democracy works we simply wouldn’t get the quality of conduct and then the satisfaction of knowing the results can be trusted,” he said.

After local elections last month, election teams have been hard-pressed while huge numbers of duplicate voter registration applications piled further pressure on stretched staff which sparked calls from returning officers and election experts for reforms to the process.

Jo Miller, in her capacity as president of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers, said: “Balancing the accessibility and security of voter registration and the vote have proved to have been resilient and well-managed. However, the statutory process could be improved and we should pursue changes in the coming months.”

She added her praise to elections staff “on the successful running of another smooth, efficient and robust election” following a period of “an unprecedented number of elections and referenda”.


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