THE man in charge of one of busiest-ever Flintshire General Election counts has praised all the candidates for the way they conducted their campaigns.
Acting returning officer Colin Everett, the chief executive of Flintshire County Council, said the high turnout in Alyn and Deeside and Delyn made for a busy night at Flint Pavilion, where the count was held.
But he claimed he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I was expecting a high turnout because of the national interest and the new forms of media and live debates which has brought new life to the election,” said Mr Everett.
“For us it makes it busier, but we want a big turnout because democracy matters.”
Ninety nine polling stations – 43 in Alyn and Deeside and 56 in Delyn – were open from 7am-10pm on Thursday.
Throughout the day and night, and into Friday morning, 86 presiding officers, 129 polling clerks and 66 counting staff helped ensure everything ran smoothly.
Mr Everett said: “Our objectives are quite simple – to produce safe, confident results and to run the count in an atmosphere where people find the whole evening worthwhile, respectful and enjoyable.”
Mr Everett said problems which plagued other polling stations, resulting in voters being turned away, were not encountered in Flintshire.
He said: “You always get issues with elections when you deal with more than 70,000 voters, like we were.
“It’s a hard logistical operation. There are always queries, but ours were all run of the mill.”
He added: “The atmosphere on the night was excellent. I have to give credit to the candidates for their impeccable behaviour. There were no disputes, no arguments, no incidents.”
News Labour candidates Mark Tami and David Hanson had both been re-elected was announced shortly after 3am.
And Mr Everett said the dignified way the candidates conducted themselves continued after the results and into their final speeches.
“No-one has said anything remotely disrespectful, in fact some candidates complimented others for the way they conducted their election campaigns,” he said.
“That shows the public the candidates were serious contenders and doing it for the right reasons. It’s a relief because the last thing we want is slurs on character.
“It rounded off the event in the appropriate way.”