By Ian Onions, Political Editor
A REVIEW is under way by council chiefs after Bristol was one of the last centres to declare its result on the AV voting system.
The city council took more than five hours to announce that voters in Bristol had rejected the Alternative Vote by 69,878 to 56,433 on Friday.
This meant the city was one of the last out of nearly 450 centres to declare its result.
More than 60 staff were used to count more than 126,000 referendum votes at the Council House.
They started at 4pm and despite the votes being verified the previous night, the result was still not declared until after 9pm.
In contrast the Isles of Scilly announced its result just 39 minutes after the national count started at 4pm.
However they only had an electorate of 1,700 and there was a total of just 833 who voted.
A Bristol City Council spokeswoman said: “We have always sought to get our election processes right – and not race to an early result.
“We have worked with the Electoral Commission and followed their directives on how to improve our service and practices. Adopting this methodical approach means every vote is counted accurately and checked at every step of the process – and this takes time.
“We will of course be looking at how our counts went to determine what additional steps we can take to deliver further improvements, this may well include employing additional counters.”
Voters in South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset all followed the national trend by giving a resounding “No” to AV which would have replaced the existing First-Past-The-Post system.
The local election count in Bristol on Thursday night did not suffer the same chaos as last year but the declarations did not finish until after 6am.
Council officials had hoped to start declaring results after 3am but later it emerged that counting would not begin until 4am.
One of the problems was that the count had to be done in two sittings because the Ashton Gate venue was not considered big enough to accommodate all the tables for the counts on the 24 seats which were being contested.
In the local elections last year, the counts descended into chaos after a series of blunders which included some votes were lost and later found.