It’s the morning after local government elections.
I want to know who has won my ward.
I want to know who is in control of the council.
So why is it so very hard to find out these two basic pieces of information?
I live in the West Midlands but I’m interested in the results in a number of places across the country. The trek to track down the information has proved to range from difficult to the almost impossible.
Councils with no mention of results on their homepage.
Or mention of the results on their elections page.
Or mention that the votes are actually getting counted later in the day.
Or sodding pdfs that won’t download.
Election night is graft, I know
All in all, I’ve covered election night counts for 20 years and I get the hard work that goes into them. They can see 20-hour days from people who try really hard to do the best they can with outdated websites and patchy wifi. This is absolutely not a dig at any one council in particular but rather a sector-wide complaint.
But if we struggle to get people out to vote we’re not helping ourselves if we make it really hard for people to follow the results or catch-up in the morning.
Social media is great in realtime, but…
I’ve been an advocate for posting results in realtime on social media. That’s great. But ward results very quickly get lost in the timeline. They’re part of the answer. Not all the answer.
But if we can’t tell people the results, no wonder turn-out ain’t great
So, I ran a quick survey of the 16 councils that are closest to me. I could have gone on but it was too depressing.
45 per cent had no mention of election results on their homepage
50 per cent had no overall party-by-party breakdown.
Not one told me which party was in charge. Not one.
If local government can’t master something so simple as who is in charge what confidence can we have that they’ll crack smart speakers and 5G?
Pic credit: Wikimedia Commons.