Many MPs and political activists (and the Press) are concerned about the trend towards counting ballots the following day - rather than, as has been the custom in the past, immediately the polls have closed.
The following answer to a Written Question was published -
Mr. Evennett: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what information the Electoral Commission holds on the number of election counts that are not planned to commence on the evening of polling day in the general election.
Mr. Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has asked all returning officers to provide information about their current plans for counting ballot papers at the next UK parliamentary general election. This information has been made available in the House of Commons Library.
In summary, as of 7 January 2010, returning officers for 586 out of 650 constituencies had provided information. Of these, 52 currently do not plan to count ballot papers on the evening of polling day at the general election. A further 17 have indicated they may defer counting in the event that the general election is combined with local authority elections, and 187 were still undecided.