It was election day yesterday for the Scottish Parliament; the Welsh National Assembly and many district councils throughout England. Polls were open between 7am and 10pm.
In many areas the traditional practice of counting the votes began immediately - but in others, such as Rugby, the count will begin this morning. Late night counts keep the adrelrenalin flowing - but it makes for an extremely long day.
In the United Kingdom all the ballot boxes are brought to a central place - a single place for each parliamentary constituency and each district. So when I go to the count in Rugby this morning all the counts will be held in Benn Hall, next to the Town Hall. Whereas in the United States candidates stay with their teams in separate places, in the UK everyone congregates at the count. Candidates bring along their 'counting agents' who observe the counting undertaken by a team appointed by the non-partisan electoral office of the council. Results are announced once all the physical ballots have been counted - and it is normal for the 'returning officer' to make the announcement flanked by all the candidates.