This week will see the biggest set of polls in UK history outside of a general election. Contests are under way in Wales, Scotland, London and in the various mayoral, local and PCC elections across Britain as part of a so-called ‘Super Thursday.’ But while past election nights have been met with the chimes of the BBC’s Arthur theme and a Dimbleby fronting hours of programmes, Covid means there will be no all-night television special.
Whereas normally all results are in by midday Friday, this year it will take longer to verify and count the votes than it has done in previous elections. This is due to both reduced staff numbers to allow for social distancing and the high number of polls taking place in some areas. Each individual returning officer will make their own decision on when the counts will be held for their area.
In England, most local authorities will start the count process on Friday, but different areas will be counting different polls at different times, with some counts scheduled to take place over the Saturday, Sunday and Monday too. In London, the Greater London returning officer has confirmed that all constituencies for the Assembly and Mayoralty will be counted over Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Expected timings for key marginals identified by election experts Rallings and Thrasher include:
- Hartlepool by-election. Billed as Keir Starmer’s first big test, polls suggest this Red Wall seat is set to return its first Tory MP since 1959. Polls close at 10 p.m. on Thursday followed by the voting verification process with a result for the constituency being expected no earlier than 4 a.m. on Friday. Local council results here should follow shortly at around 5 a.m.