General Election Count Will Take Place In Lerwick

by Alastair Hamilton -

For the first time, the counting of votes for the election in the UK Parliamentary Constituency of Orkney and Shetland will be held in Shetland.

The Returning Officer, Orkney Islands Council's Chief Executive Alastair Buchan, said that the time had come for a break with tradition. He said, “It's an opportunity to refresh the process and ensure wider accountability across the constituency, as well as recognition of the electorate in Shetland. It also allows election agents and invited guests in Shetland the opportunity to view the process, which they were perhaps unable to do before, due to the cost and time involved in travelling to Orkney.”

Mr Buchan added,

“Our election teams in both Orkney and Shetland have built up a breadth of experience around the running of elections. We regard this as an opportune time to share and develop that experience. It may also result in slightly quicker result being declared, which I"m sure we will all welcome in the early hours of 8 May”.

Following the close of polls at 10pm on 7 May, Orkney's ballot boxes will be flown to Shetland. They should arrive at the count in Clickimin Leisure Centre at around 1am and the declaration is expected at around 4am.

The Orkney and Shetland seat has been held for many years by Liberal or Liberal Democrat politicians, including Jo Grimond, Jim Wallace (now Lord Wallace) and Alistair Carmichael, who is at present Secretary of State for Scotland in the coalition government. Mr Carmichael was re-elected in 2010 with a 62% share of the vote and a majority of 9,928. Labour, SNP and Conservative candidates each won a little more than 2,000 votes and the UKIP candidate gained just over 1,200.

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