Whilst the Chair of the electoral commission should carry the can for the travesty that occurred, there are also lessons to be learned. As a voter in Mancheter Withington, I believe the following should be looked into.
- Mcr Withington has always had the highest turnout of the 5 Manchester constituencies. Was this allowed for?
- Students tend to vote late – on the way to the pub. The problems were mostly in areas with high student numbers e.g. Fallowfield and Ladybarn.
- Was lack of voting booths (2 per station) an issue?
- Were there procedural changes? The clerks seemed to take longer than usual (there was local elections as well). Was this due to having the electoral lists in postal address order, rather than alphabetical order of name or street address?
- Queues were already forming at 11am. Why did none of the clerks summon help? Or if they did, why was none available?
- Also, why did it take much longer in Manchester Town Hall to count the vote? The result was at least 3 hours later than usual. I think this happened in lots of other areas as results seemed to come through more slowly.
If government agencies cannot get a simple procedure like voting correct, then what hope have we for reducing the impact of cost-cutting in more complex areas? By improving and simplifying procedures, productivity can increase, so standards of service will not be reduced as much. Understanding a simple failure can give insights into other areas.