Joining the Digital Age

Well – the digital age for a Chief Executive.  A blog and a post.  There must be a joke in that somewhere but not from me!

I hope to provide you with some information, updates, views and possibly things that a Chief Executive of a very proud Borough like Colchester deals with.

In this first blog I will concentrate on the Elections.

I say elections as we have three different ones in May 2015.  I am appointed as the Returning Officer so I am responsible for planning, overseeing, administering and returning politicians in these elections.  I say three elections –

Parliamentary – I return 2 MPs

Borough – I return 20 out of 60 Borough Councillors

Parish / Town / Community – A lot of parish / town / community councillors in different parts of the Borough

Just the parliamentary (Members of Parliament) elections can be confusing.  Why?  Well part of the Witham constituency (currently Priti Patel) area is in Colchester but most in Braintree.  So Braintree are responsible but use some of our polling stations.

Colchester Town (currently Sir Bob Russell) area is all in the Borough.  So all ours.

Harwich and North Essex (currently Bernard Jenkin) area is half in Colchester and half in Tendring.  I am responsible but need to use polling stations and staff in Tendring.

A few numbers for you.  In just the two parliamentary constituencies we have some: –

143,700 voters who are on the electoral register and can vote.

128  polling stations.

290  polling staff.

140 count staff who will work from 10pm on Thursday night of the election till 4 / 5am on the Friday morning.

And as I say that is just the national elections.

We have Borough elections and Town/Parish/Community Council elections on the same day.

I know you won’t feel sorry for me but on Thursday 7 May I will be up at 5:30am.  Polling stations have to open by 7am. I will be in and out of polling stations all day making sure things are going ok.  Then to the count for 10pm till around 4 / 5am.  I will finish doing the paperwork by 6am (fingers crossed).  Then home, breakfast, walk the dog and bed.  Back Friday afternoon to do the count for the 20 borough Councillors and finish about 9pm.  Then enjoy Saturday as we will be back at the count on Sunday to count votes and elect Parish Councillors, Town Councillors and Community Councillors.

Followed by being back at work on Monday morning as Chief Executive.  (Provided everything has gone according to plan).

In my next blog (or is that post!) I will look at some things other than elections.

Note: the government has changed the way you register to be able to vote in elections.  Please check to make sure you are on the register and can vote.  See our website – www.colchester.gov.uk/registertovote.

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