The Constitution Unit


Referendums are different: reflections from 5 May

Public Seminars 2010-11

Jenny Watson (Chair, Electoral Commission)

Date: Wednesday 15 June, 1.00pm
Venue: Council Room, The Constitution Unit

Recommendations and Lessons from the referendums:

  • Government and Parliament should consider whether the ground rules for referendums and elections can be standardised and agreed in advance, removing the need for debate about the detailed rules that occurs in the run-up to every major poll.
  • For both national elections and referendums: consider whether they should still be administered solely at a local level without coordination for delivery and with variations in practice.
  • Election forms and notices should be standardized. Change the law so that standardized, consistent, best-practice forms and notices are used.
  • Consider greater central coordination of general elections.
  • Recommended previously that Government should change the rules at close of polls to allow those in the queue at 10pm to vote – still believe this change needs to be made, but, in the alternative, have directions and contingency plans in place.
  • Consider the benefits of new approaches to reaching voters.
  • Look more closely at the verification process – at the general acceptance among some counting officers that the number of ballot papers counted during the initial verification process might not match the number of ballot papers finally included in the count.

Read the full transcript (pdf)

More information: