please empty your brain below

Didn' t Tower Hamletsbuse to be a Lib Dem stronghold back in the day? Whatever happened to them?
I guess they were enjoying the decor inside the old Troxy cinema so much that they did not concentrate on counting. Nice venue.
They should hire someone skilled in counting things.
Well done DG for putting together the most complete explanation of the curiously chaotic events in Tower Hamlets, plus a more up to date version of the election results than I could find anywhere else at 9am on Monday morning. Is this something wrong in Tower Hamlets or was it always too ambitious and complicated to try and count three different elections at more or less the same time? As you suggest, it's bound to raise the question of cock-up or conspiracy, bearing in mind TH's recent political history. Prioritising their mayoral election was maybe a bit selfish as well, as it had the effect of delaying the announcement of the London euro result and hence the overall national voting strengths of the three main parties.
I live over the water, but whenever I hear Tower Hamlets and election in the same sentence, rightly or wrongly, my default thought is 'dodgy'.
“Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”
― Stalin
I think the accusations of electoral fraud in recent years have made everyone in TH Council very, very nervous of challenge / prosecution. Therefore it looks like the whole process is subject to repeated verification and if the results are close demands for recount after recount.

I also wonder if budget cuts are beginning to force a change to daytime counts rather than our tradition of overnight counting. My own view is that the old tradition is best - we deserve to know the results as quickly as possible provided the count is done properly.

The situation in TH does look very poor though. Let's hope things sharpen up for the 2015 general election and the Mayoral election in 2016.
Anyone have any knowledge of how, when a count is suspended and resumed, all the ballot papers are safeguarded inbetween?
@ G ....Hah hah hah hah - yes there are. And, do I think they were scrupulously followed...nah
I think election fraud in UK could be hugely underestimated. Everything from counting, to the use of pencils could mean that if someone wanted to influence result, they could. Would I be wrong thinking that the order of candidates surely affects the result as well, so the graphic designer who puts together the papers is an influencer too?
With railway stations in mind, I was at first wondering what Bromley South had to do with Tower Hamlets. Then it clicked: oh //that// Bromley. I wonder whether calling the ward "Bromley South" rather than South Bromley is some kind of nose-thumbing gesture towards the south-of-the-river bearer of that name.
...maybe if people who didn't/don't vote had a say then things would be better?
One explanation for split party voting could be a single candidate from another party. If, for example, you are a green-minded Labour voter and there's only one green candidate but three Labour candidates you might award a cross to the Greens and then decide which of the one Labour candidate you eliminate. The downside of this is while you may wish your Green vote to be acknowledged you know picking the wrong Labour candidate to fail could backfire if another Labour voter doing the same picks one of your two choices to be eliminated.

I'm sure we previously had more than one vote for the European elections, so we could pick a local-ish London MEP and a London-wide party MEP. It meant you could stick to a traditional party and still give a vote to a minor party like the Greens. Perhaps I'm thinking of the London Assembly.
The turnout in Tower Hamlets at close to 50% was much higher than in most other boroughs across the capital. Perhaps this means the local residents are more interested in participating in local politics and exercising their vote however against the background of the seemingly incompetent count and all the rumours of corruption and fraud I cannot help but think that Tower Hamlets has something of the rotten borough about it.
Re my earlier question at 1.05 pm: PC's earlier post indicates a positive view about the delay, and B's comment balances it.
As for objective information: please, bring it on - really, how is it done? It must happen not infrequently - and not just in LBTH?
Dodgily-folded ballot papers would slow things down a bit..
Is it true that council tax departments aren't allowed to check names against the electoral roll and vice versa. Could some form of cross-referencing could help eliminate the potential for electoral fraud and council tax evasion?
Yes, ballot paper order does have an effect. At present in UK elections the order is alphabetical. Some organisations though have gone for random ordering for their internal elections to try to make things a bit fairer. Usually their ballots are handled by an outside body like the Electoral Reform Society so should be independent and relatively safe from corruption. I'm not sure how great the effect is but it is probably most significant in cases of mistaken party identity like the 'Literal Democrat' case. He wouldn't conceivable have received so many votes if the Liberal Democrat candidate had been above him on the ballot paper. Likewise, would 'An Independence from Europe' (and who are they anyway - deliberate UKIP spoliers?) have got nearly so many votes if they hadn't been at the top of the paper and UKIP at the bottom?
Based on a tweet containing comments from the leader of the Tories on T Hamlets Council it seems things were rather more chaotic than one would expect.

Now clearly one politician criticising another brings risks as to quite what is being said and why but the comments made are distinctly worrying if true. I would hope that the Police are called in to investigate if the alleged interference with the count did happen as stated.
Yikes! Count restarting at 6:30pm today.

Also allegations of intimidation outside polling stations.
yes, council tax depts. don't cross check with electoral registration, and vice versa. it's taken quite seriously, local authority staff are among those offered extra work on a Census year chasing up noncompleted forms, EXCEPT those who work in the council tax dept. this started in the days of the Community Charge, when a full list of all residents was requested.
is this turning into the longest election count in UK history?
Hi Amber. Why is that rule in place? Doesn't it make a mockery of the idea of voters benefiting from and contributing to local services?
Shades of Hogarth
With the TH result so tight (now L 20, THF 18, C 4) imagine the concentration of canvassing and voter 'encouragement' there'll be at the yet to be held vote in Blackwall and Canning Town ward. In my day you weren't allowed to display any kind of campaigning behaviour within sight or earshot of a polling station, so how come all the partisan shouting and waving of leaflets and the rest was allowed to happen?
I think it demonstrates that the average voter doesn't know the rules about polling stations. Were the police stationed outside correctly briefed about the rules? And what of the reports of canvassers inside the polling stations and campaign literature left inside the booths? Do we now need someone to inspect the booths after each voter has vacated them?

All eyes will be on Cubbitt Town & Blackwall for the balance of power and any sight of a repeat of the behaviour reported on Thursday.

In the run up to the election did the East End Life (Tower Hamlets' free sheet) run any features on what is and is not allowed at polling stations? Perhaps it should so voters are clear about what is legally acceptable and what isn't.

As for the delayed count, there are suggestions that more staff were needed. But counting staff get extra pay and this has to come from somewhere. At a time when central government is forcing cuts on local authorities is it suggesting more local money should be spent on local counters?
Re split voting - i split my council vote in Lewisham across three parties - three that have policies i can relate to at least in part, although all three have policies i dislike. The "who" from the available list was based on a couple of hours of research on the available candidates - frustrating and often fruitless - to find out who actually seemed decent. The level of information was poor.
Can't understand why there are reports of polling intimidation, canvassers inside polling stations and election material left in booths when:

1. there was supposed to be a police presence at every polling station, and 2. the Electorial Commision were looking exremely carefully at TH.

What were the returning officers and police doing? What were the polling station clerks doing?

Sounds like no-one done there job properly or were too scared to do so?
What were the police doing? Well at my polling station (on the island) the policewoman was about 100 yards away from the polling station - looking hugely bored. Whilst canvessors were right against the polling station entrance. I didn't feel threatened, but then I'm physically pretty big which can be handy at times like this.
(Ipad predictive wanted to change canvessors into escorts - which would have been interesting if I hadn't spotted it)

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