You might think it’s election day today, but in many ways it’s not. OK, so WordPress prefers Greenwich Mean Time to the British Summer variety, and thinks it’s still Wednesday, but that’s not what I mean.
Don’t get me wrong. My feet have had enough after a marathon pre-election session on the doorstep, on top of the others up to now, and the day ahead is only more daunting. Many people will vote today, and at the end those votes will be counted.
But, for many, election day was just under two weeks ago, as the postal ballots landed on doorsteps. I remember the tiny satisfaction a fortnight since of seeing one of the tail end of my election addresses landing on top of a freshly delivered set of ballot papers. Some candidates don’t appreciate this, and time everything for today, but the cruel reality is that where I live a very approximate half of the people who will vote will have voted by post, and therefore have probably not only voted already, but already forgotten who they voted for.
Even news channels seem to have forgotten this, with some Mayoral debates scheduled after the postal votes are already heading back whence they came. I suppose it’s not very dramatic, what with the gap between the vote and learning the import of its content.
This has an impact on the PCC election. Part of the reason there won’t be a PCC candidate section in the Electoral Commission booklet your household will receive is that they would need to be ready and distributed before the postal ballots, and that’s not very long after nominations close. Of course, they could have designed it differently when they passed the law in the first place, but given the election booklet decision is still formally being made, evidently no-one was thinking in that much detail quite that far ahead.
So, remember, remember the fifth of November. It’s 10 days before the big election day, so expect people to have had postal ballots for about three days by then, and half the election to be over.