My role as an election teller and counting agent

Iain Dale has flagged up two quotes today from voters who are supporting Conservatives for the first time. I am pleased to say I have met others who feel the same way, and interviewed a couple on this video for Rob Halfon, who is standing in Harlow. I stumbled across similar sentiments on the Daily Mirror website this morning from a reader commenting on an article naturally intended to humiliate David Cameron:

“I’ve been a Labour voter for around 20 years now but not any more. At some point Gordon and the Labour party have to accept some of the blame for this utter shambles that the UK now finds itself in. Like in 1997 the time for change has arrived and hopefully the party that wins will take steps to redress the mess.”

Hopefully this disillusioned person will vote Tory, and I hope many more voters will feel the same way in Cambridge where I am a teller this afternoon at one of the voting stations. It is important to collate information and know who has voted and which supporters still need to be encouraged to get out and vote. Every vote is very precious.

I will later be supporting our superb Cambridge candidate Nick Hillman as his counting agent this evening, confident that he couldn’t have done more; he has won over tremendous support in a very short time, having only been selected during the last Christmas break, including a good share of university students.

With postal votes and election fraud a real concern, I thought being a counting agent might be a really important role, but it would appear that although the agent oversees the count, they may not touch any of the ballot papers. I will ask the returning officer at the very least if I can view the postal votes. If anyone has any advice about this role, I would appreciate it.

Cambridge has blown all three ways in the past; it was held by Conservatives between 1974 – 1992 when Labour won it with a majority of only 580, and they lost the seat to Lib Dems in 2005 with a 43.9% share of the vote. That vote share is going to be decimated today as the Green Party’s Tony Juniper has much local support, and they will be switching to him from Lib Dem, but not by enough to win, which is good news for Nick.

This is a truly momentous day, and one which I feel confident will lead us in a new democratic direction with David Cameron as our prime minister.


  1. disaffected

    Fingers crossed that its anyone BUT Gordon or Cleggy.
    Keep your eye on the piles , count them as they are adding up against the votes for the other parties.They will be in bundles and will be placed seperately for each party.
    You will be shown ALL the spoilt ballot papers by the Returning Officer , you have to agree which ones are clearly not to be added to the count ( no clear X , rude comments ! , voting for more than one , voting for none etc )
    At the start when they are simply verifying the numbers in the box before placing them in party piles , see how many you think are coming out as Tory in every 20 ( this is a good indicator of how its going to work out if you are alert)
    Dont get too close to the people counting , its not fair on them as they start to feel rather intimidated and it can lead to complaints !
    Dont engage any of them in conversation .
    Make sure you have pen and paper handy and get down all the numbers.
    Good luck , I shall be elsewhere doing the same !

  2. Highwaylass, thanks for, I will certainly be watching very closely.

  3. Highwaylass

    Hi Ellee, your candidate’s agent should brief you about what you can and cannot do at the count, but i’ve always understood the main job of the counting agents as making sure that none of the votes for your candidate get put into another candidate’s pile. It does happen and if you think back to Winchester with its majority of 2, an alert counting agent can swing the result. You can also look for spoiled ballots, but i can’t remember what you do if you spot one, as i don’t think you are allowed to speak to the counting staff.

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