Preparing for the big vote

Polling station, West Norwood Photo: Christopher Dodd

Croydon Council is preparing for the biggest electoral operation they have ever seen as a record number of candidates stand for both local and general elections. With over 250,000 voters the borough has the largest registered electorate in London. The Council have recruited 500 members of staff to count the ballots, all working through the night to get the results in as quickly as possible.

The General Election count is due to start immediately after polling stations have closed, while the local election count will start the next day at 11 am with a new team of counters. Council staff are expecting a high turnout for both elections as residents take the opportunity to vote at both a local and national level. In addition to this, staff are expecting the highest ever postal voting activity they have  seen as 31,500 residents have registered to vote by post rather than visiting a polling station.

It is not only the voter turnout that promises to increase- a record number of 284 candidates are also contesting the 24 council wards in the local elections, with Conservatives, Labour and Greens standing for all 70 seats. Additionally the Liberal Democrats have put up 46 candidates, UKIP have 11, BNP have 9, and there are 3 Communists, 2 Christian Peoples Alliance, 1 Independent, 1 Monster Raving Loony Party and 1 Putting Croydon First.

Whatever the results, council staff can be sure of one thing: they have a long night ahead of them. In the 2005 General Election, Croydon South was declared at 2.25am, North at 2.50am, and Central at 7am. However, electoral staff are confident they have prepared as much as possible so they can get everything right.

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