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Scottish Local Government Elections 2012

Welcome to Orkney Islands Council’s online coverage of the 2012 Local Government Elections count on May 4 2012.

10.45am - Orkney Islands Council was the first to declare a Ward result in Scotland, narrowly beating Stirlingshire - and the first to complete the count, in the words of the Scottish Government, by a country mile. View our Results page.

10.30am - Results for Ward 6 North Isles have just been announced:

  • Stephen Clackson (Independent) - elected at stage 1.
  • Stephen Hagan (Independent) - elected at stage 1.
  • Graham Sinclair (Independent) - elected at stage 4.

10.26am - North Isles results expected shortly.

Former Councillor Sam Harcus who represented the North Isles from 2007 to 2012 tells us what the wait for results is like:

Sam Harcus

"Five years now seems a lifetime away in many respects but I remember the night of the count fairly well. I don’t remember being nervous on the approach to the actual election - after I made the decision to stand it was very busy and I was resigned to a feeling of 'whatever will be will be', but you are very aware that you now rely on support, and actual votes, from a large number of people you don’t know and don’t know you as well as family and friends who had initially encouraged you. The count venue at Picky was very busy with the government elections counted and announced the same night but the night was whiled away by, chatting with a few old friends and acquaintances and also meeting many people who could potentially be your associates for what we expected to be the next four years.

"It was a long night, as the boxes from the isles arrived and as the count progressed the tension/ apprehension level was raised. If successful, this would be for me another venture in to the relatively unknown, new place of work, new people, you would now be part of the decision making process for Orkney and its people, as well as the North Isles. If you were unsuccessful there was bound to be a feeling of rejection and you knew that everyone could not be elected.

"This was much, much more than a job application, presenting a CV, an interview and hoping for a positive result. There was high expectation of you rather than a set job description and the “panel” to impress in your favour, and then to serve, are hundreds of people whose lives it will affect!"

10.08am - Results for Ward 5: East Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray:

  • Andrew Drever (Independent) - elected at stage 5.
  • Jim Foubister (Independent) - elected at stage 7.
  • Russ Madge - elected at stage 1.

9.58am - East Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray votes are in the final stage of adjudication and the Returning Officer is gathering the candidates together.

9.55am - Last lot of votes (North Isles ward) have been verified. East Mainland, South  Ronaldsay and Burray are in the second stage of verification.

9.50am - Results for Ward 4: West Mainland results have just been announced:

  • Alistair Gordon - elected at stage 5.
  • Harvey Johnston - elected at stage 1.
  • Jimmy Moar - elected at stage 8.
  • Owen Tierney (Independent) - elected at stage 8.

9.35 - Results for Ward 3: Stromness and South Isles have just been announced:

  • Rob Crichton - elected at stage 6.
  • Maurice Davidson - elected at stage 6.
  • James Stockan - elected at stage 1.

9.30 - North Isles votes being sorted; West Mainland votes are in the first stage of adjudication. Stromness and South Isles votes are in the second stage of adjudication.

9.20 Results for Ward 2: Kirkwall West and Orphir have just been announced:

  • Alan Clouston (Independent) - elected at stage 11.
  • Jack Moodie - elected at stage 1.
  • John Richards (Independent) - elected at stage 2.
  • David Tullock (Independent) - elected at stage 9.

Former Councillor Ian Johnstone – Stromness and South Isles Ward from 2003-2012 tells us what it was like to await the results in 2003.

Ian Johnstone

"I was involved in the 2003 election with a physical count of papers which was very nerve racking as you could stand at the tables watching piles rise and then catch up with each other. Five years ago the election was a longer wait but as the counts came in the tension mounted until we were taken into a small group with Alistair Buchan who revealed the results before it was announced to the general public.

"It was a huge relief when I got in even though on the first count I came third, on the second round I was in the lead and eventually got in comfortably. It is an emotional roller coaster as you want the backing of the electorate but never quite know what they think. I don't envy the present candidates but if you are successful it is a great feeling."

9.10 - West Mainland votes are being scanned. Stromness and South Isles votes have been verified and are going onto adjudication. East Mainland, South Ronladsay and Burray votes are being sorted.

9.05am - Stromness and South Isles votes are being verified

9am - Results for Ward 1: Kirkwall East have just been announced:

  • Janice Annal (Independent) - elected at stage 1.
  • Steven Heddle - elected at stage 1.
  • Gwenda Shearer (Independent) - elected at stage 4.
  • Bill Stout - elected at stage 8.

8.55am - Kirkwall East results are expected imminently

East Kirkwall candidates await results

Image: East Kirkwall candidates pensively await results

 8.49am - Kirkwall West and Orphir votes are now being verified.

8.45am - Vince Buchan, Network Manager for OIC, has been involved in setting up ISDN links for local media, arranging for extra cables to be laid out in the count area, setting up a microwave link to the Council’s network and getting screens in place for candidates and other observers to keep an eye on.

Vince Buchan

What’s his tip for remaining calm? Good preparation.

8.38am - The sorting of West Mainland votes has started, Kirkwall East votes are being adjudicated and Stromness and the South Isles votes are being scanned..

8.36am - Kirkwall West and Orphir votes are now being scanned.

8.29am - The first batch of votes - for Wards 1 and 2 (Kirkwall East and Kirkwall West and Orphir)  - are being scanned and counted. Former Councillor Bobbie Leslie tells us what it was like this time 5 years ago when he stood for the Kirkwall East Ward at the last Local Government Election.

Bobbie Leslie
"An election count was something completely new to me, never mind the fact that it was a new electronic system too.  It was nerve-wracking – you’re milling around chatting to folk but you’re not really hearing them as all you’re thinking about is the results coming in.  As the count was overnight, you were there having had very little sleep and you’re on-edge and apprehensive.  I really just wanted it to be over as soon as possible!"

8.25am - Kirkwall East votes being scanned.

Kirkwall East votes being scanned. 

8am on May 4: Welcome to the count from the Returning Officer Albert Tait

Welcome to Orkney Islands Council’s online coverage of the 2012 Local Government Elections. Results will be posted here as they are announced, ward by ward.

Returning Officer Albert Tait and count staff.

Image: Returning Officer Albert Tait - front left - with the count staff

We’ll be the first to bring you the news from the count venue and we hope to have all results by well before lunchtime.

We’ll also be bringing you interviews with some key election staff and photos during the count.

We’ll be the first to bring you the news from the count venue and we hope to have all results by well before lunchtime.

Remeber to regularly hit the Refresh button on your browser to get the latest updates to this page as they are posted.

Thank you for joining us and I hope you will stay with us throughout the count, or follow our updates on the Council’s Twitter page: http://twitter.com/#!/orkneycouncil

On May 3 2012 Orkney headed to the polls for the Scottish Local Government Elections. We spoke to polling station staff who will be on duty from before polling stations open ay 7pm, until closing time at 10pm.

Lesley-Ann Raeburn is Presiding Officer at the Polling Station at St Magnus Centre in Kirkwall, which serves not only the central and Wideford areas of Kirkwall, but also residents from Shapinsay, Sanday, North Ronladsay, Stronsay, Papay, Westray and Eday who might chose to travel into Kirkwall to vote.

She said: “It’s very hands on – I’m right alongside the polling clerks making sure the right ballot papers are given out, making sure the register is correctly updated, and checking that ballot papers are then put into the correct ballot box, and then balancing the papers at the end of the day – basically making sure that our box contains the number of votes that our register tells us we should have".

“As Presiding Officer I’m also responsible for making sure that the overall running of the polling station goes smoothly, and I also help with any queries from other polling stations.

“This must be about the 27th time I have worked at the election, either on the count team or at a polling station, and I’ve been Presiding Officer for a number of years now.

“The best thing about polling day is meeting lots of different folk - there's usually quite a buzz about the place.

Alison Davis is also a Presiding Officer (PO) at the St Magnus Centre this year. Karriz Rendall is Polling Clerk.

Alison Davis and Karriz Rendall.

Alison (pictured above, left) said: “I have been working on Polling Stations for the last 19 years, firstly as Clerk and latterly as Presiding Officer.  Working on polling day is enjoyable, it’s really nice to see so many people coming to vote throughout the day.  When you work on the same station year after year you get to know the voters, which is really nice. Normally there is a consistent stream of people coming throughout the day so it does make the day busier. Catching up with the news in the Orcadian with a bag of sweets normally fills in the quiet spells.”

Karriz (pictured right) said: “The day usually flies past when there are so many folk coming and going and lots of jobs to do and things to keep an eye on. There is usually a chance to have a chat with the people you’re working with during the odd quiet moment so it’s quite an enjoyable day. The only bad point is sore muscles from sitting for so many hours and not getting outside all day!”

Deirdre Dearness is one of the 37 polling staff. She’s a polling clerk at the St Magnus Centre.

Deirdre Dearness.

It’s the first time Deirdre has sat on the business side of the polling desk. She’s pictured here picking up the ballot box and other bits and pieces needed at the polling station on Thursday May 3.

“This is a change for me this time round – I have been on the count team a number of times but thought this year I would try something different and take the opportunity to experience the buzz at one of Orkney’s busiest polling stations.

"It’s a long day but from what I hear from people who’ve covered polling stations the hustle and bustle keeps you going.

"Somewhere in there I have to remember to cast a vote myself!”

Hazel Flett is Presiding Officer (PO) at the Holm Community Centre, polling station for the Holm district.

Hazel Flett.

We asked her how long she's been involved in elections:

"Eek! Too long to remember! I was a polling clerk for maybe two elections after 1988 (as I was too young then to be a PO believe it or not!) and have been a PO since then.

"I’ve been all over the place – Tankerness, Kirkwall, St Margaret’s Hope, Deerness and latterly Holm.

"I always get asked, “how long are you here for? The standard answer is from 6.30am to whenever we get finished after 10pm. In response I get a look of horror and then, “…don’t you get a break?”

Jackie Spence and Stuart West are Presiding Officer and Polling Clerk respectively at the Birsay polling station. They're pictured here on Wednesday getting ready to take the ballot box out to the polling station.

Stuart West and Jackie Spence.

Jackie, who usually works in the Council's IT team, has been a presiding officer at three different polling stations in Orkney over the last 10 years – she was polling clerk at Orphir and a Presiding Officer at Sandwick (before it was joined with Birsay) and now at Birsay. 

Stuart can normally be found in the Council’s planning section, but has been clerk at Birsay the last two years, and for a number years before that he’s also been a member of the count team at various elections in Orkney and in Manchester.

Like all polling staff, Jackie and Stuart will be at their station by 6.30am setting up signage before the station opens at 7am. Polling stations close at to 10pm but polling staff remain behind doing paperwork and tidying up the polling station and removing all the signs etc, and babysitting their ballot box until is picked up for delivery to Kirkwall for storage overnight.

Jackie says the day passes quicker than you’d think: “There’s always people coming and going, and most folk like to have a quick chat which is nice and helps the time fly.”

Stuart adds: “We usually get a rush of folk coming in to vote in the last quarter hour which helps keep you on your toes!”

Their tip for getting through the day: “Have lots of food at the ready!”

There are 37 staff working at polling stations across Mainland Orkney today (May 3), including a ‘meet and greet’ staff member.

Karen Drever.

Postal votes are already being prepared for the count by the Election Team at OIC - they'll be counted on 4th May along with votes cast at Polling Stations on Thursday 3rd May.

It's expected that votes will be counted and results will be announced two wards at a time and in ward order, eg Ward 1 and 2 results will be announced; then Wards 3 and 4, finishing with Wards 5 and 6.

The Wards in Orkney are: 

Ward 1 - Kirkwall East (4 Elected Members

Ward 2 - Kirkwall West and Orphir (4 Elected Members).

Ward 3 - Stromness and South Isles (3 Elected Members).

Ward 4 - West Mainland (4 Elected Members).

Ward 5 - East Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray (3 Elected Members).

Ward 6 - North Isles (3 Elected Members).

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