A FARCICAL and unresolved conclusion to East Lindsey’s election day saw dozens of furious candidates return home still unsure of their seat on the district council.
While shifts in local political power registered at councils across the country, an unexpectedly drawn out ballot verification, followed by a legal problem, prevented any results from being made public at Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre.
Chief executive for East Lindsey Distirct Council and returning officer for the count, Nigel Howells, speaking in the early hours of this morning, said: “We have not finished the verification and I need it signed off by Kettering so I will no be able to make any results until tomorrow morning.”
Because the regional returning officer in Kettering is legally required verify the AV votes before any results can be publicised, many councillors had to leave the count no wiser of their status on the council.
The mood among those departing was a mixture of bewilderment and frustration that the culmination of weeks campaigning had fizzled out so ineffectually.
Throughout the evening candidates talked nervously among themselves and eagerly watched the counters sort the ballot papers in anticipation for the count.
The count did continue until 5.30am and an unofficial version of the results was made available to some of the candidates and their agents that remained behind.
However most chose to leave, looking tired, despondent and anxious that they would not know their fate for hours to come.
Other district counts across Lincolnshire also fell fowl to exceeding the regional returning officer’s deadline.
It is believed that East Lindsey’s comparatively large area and the fact that three separate elections were taking place concurrently led to the delays.
Town and parish counts are due to take place this morning with the AV count not due until the afternoon.