Electoral Service Visit

25th May 2017
A fascinating meeting at the Town Hall with Colette Maund, Head of Electoral Services, and Erica Hermon, Deputy Head of Law and Governance, of Herefordshire Council. By law, a High Sheriff is the Returning Officer for the County Constituencies within the County for which she or he is High Sheriff. In Herefordshire we have two constituencies: North Herefordshire and Hereford and South Herefordshire.
My predecessor-but-one, Edward Harley, was in office for the 2015 General Election which under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act happened predictably, five years after the 2010 Election. Mrs May’s surprise calling of an Election means that I will act as Returning Officer following polling on 8th June.
The meeting with Colette and Erica was for them to brief me about the process of counting the votes after the polls close on 8th June, leading up to my declaration of the result in the early hours of 9th June.
I was hugely impressed by the thoroughness of the preparations by Electoral Services staff (even though the calling of the Election took many of us by surprise). And the processes and cross-checks to ensure that the count is accurate were complex but extremely reassuring. After my briefing we went upstairs to the main hall to watch part of the first day’s processing of postal votes. Here a process of counting and cross-checking was being carried out by twenty staff.
I am much looking forward to the experience of announcing the results in our County, and I urge everyone who is entitled to vote to exercise their precious democratic right on 8th June.