London Elections in 2008

The Open Rights Group is an official election observing organisation in 2008, and we are sending teams of volunteer election observers to observe the e-count of votes cast in the London elections this May. This page is a resource for our officially-accredited election observers.

Golden Rules for Election Observers

Here are the golden rules:

  1. Accuracy of information - Ensure the information you record is detailed and accurate.
  2. Political impartiality - Never say, wear or do anything which can be construed as favouring any political party, candidate or issue.
  3. Respect election law and election integrity - Never obstruct the election process or violate the secrecy of the ballot.
  4. Respect the observation mission's terms of reference.

Mission Terms of Reference

The terms of reference for May 2008 Open Rights Group observation teams are as follows:

  1. To evaluate the integrity of technologies and processes used in the electronic count.
  2. To examine whether the electronic count might increase the risk of electoral fraud or error.
  3. To observe whether the electronic count risks the secrecy of the ballot.
  4. To collect the views of voters, candidates and officials on the e-counting scheme.

(Here's a handy printable version of the above two sections for the front of your clipboard.)

Count Centre Admissions Policy Document

This document has been produced by the GLA "to protect the health, safety and dignity of everyone working in and visiting Count Centres". It has been issued to all constituency returning officers [1].

Required Reading for Observers

Useful Background Reading for Observers

  • Open Rights Group eVoting Briefing Pack [3]
  • Open Rights Group May 2007 Election Report [4]
  • OSCE ODIHR Election Observation Handbook, 5th Ed [5]
  • Electoral Commission/ London Elects Handbook for polling station staff [6]
  • United Nations Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct For International Election Observers [7]
  • Handbook for European Union Election Observation Missions [8]
  • Vollan, Kåre, Observing Electronic Voting [9]
  • The Carter Center, Developing a Methodology for Observing Electronic Voting [10]
  • Krimmer, Rober & Volkamer, Melanie, Observing Threats to Voter’s Anonymity: Election Observation of Electronic Voting [11]

Mission Calendar

29 April: Electronic Counting briefing

Notes from 29 April briefing for election observers


:City Hall

The Queens Walk
London SE1 2AA

Please note location change to:

Mothers Union Enterprises Ltd
Mary Sumner House
24 Tufton Street
Phone: 020 7222 5533

Time: 15:00

Post-briefing briefing for ORG observers will be at 17:30 at The Harp, 47 Chandos Place, London, WC2N 4HS. [13]

Notes from 29 April 2008 post-briefing briefing

Observer T shirts and badges should be worn to this event.

1 May (optional): Election Day

ORG election observers may observe at polling places, which are open between 07:00 and 22:00

2 May: The Big Day

ORG observers will be observing the e-count in the three count centres.

12 May: Reporting Deadline

Observers will have submitted their reports to the ORG by this deadline.

Observing at Polling Places

Polling Place Evaluation Form

The Polling Place Evaluation Form is available here [14]

Lists of polling places

Below are links to pages listing all polling places in various areas:

You can download a .zip file which lists all these polling places here.

Postal Ballot Opening Times

You can download a .doc file of provisional postal ballot opening times here

Count Centre Evaluation

This is the Count centre evaluation form (pdf)

Count Centre teams and shift information

There are 3 count centres, and below is a list of who will be at which centre between which times.

Alexandra Palace

Constituencies being counted: Barnet & Camden / Brent & Harrow / Enfield & Haringey / North East (Hackney, Islington, Waltham Forest)

Stefan (Team leader)




Constituencies being counted: Greenwich & Lewisham / Bexley & Bromley / City and East (Newham, Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets and City of London) / Havering and Redbridge

Louise (Team leader)




Consituencies being counted: Ealing & Hillingdon / Croydon & Sutton / Lambeth & Southwark / Merton & Wandsworth / West Central (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster) /South West (Hounslow, Richmond Upon Thames and Kingston Upon Thames)

Ian (Team leader)



Useful Information for Observers

Things to Take

Things you'll need to take (or wear)

  • your badge
  • your lovely ORG observer t-shirt
  • Observer Quick Reference for your count centre (this has been emailed to you)
  • Count Centre evaluation forms (x3) [15]
  • Continuation paper [16]

Things you'll want to take

  • refreshments - food and drink (water, a thermos), in case there's nothing nearby (we almost starved last year!) NB London elects have confirmed that refreshments will be available, so this may not be so important now.
  • Clipboard
  • Something to write with
  • mobile phone
  • a camera
  • your observer guidelines

Things NOT to Take

  • Laptops are not allowed
  • voice recorders can only be used to record your own voice, not to do interviews. (And it's actually really time-intensive to process voice recordings!) -since we're now asking people to hand in their evaluation report before they leave, voice recorders will be less useful now. Becky hogge

How to Get There

Nearest Tube Stations

Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace station is close - trains run often from King's Cross or Moorgate (depending on time of day), all calling at Finsbury Park (which is probably the best place to get on). Departures from platforms 5 and 6. Wood Green tube station is only a little further away. To get up the hill to the palace is 10-15 minutes walk, depending on how fit you are. Exit the station via the non-ticket-office end of the footbridge, turn left and follow the road up.

Handy Hints