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:
- Accuracy of information - Ensure the information you record is detailed and accurate.
- Political impartiality - Never say, wear or do anything which can be construed as favouring any political party, candidate or issue.
- Respect election law and election integrity - Never obstruct the election process or violate the secrecy of the ballot.
- 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:
- To evaluate the integrity of technologies and processes used in the electronic count.
- To examine whether the electronic count might increase the risk of electoral fraud or error.
- To observe whether the electronic count risks the secrecy of the ballot.
- 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 .
Required Reading for Observers
- Open Rights Group Election Observer Handbook May 2008 (pdf)
- Basic information about the e-counting process from London Elects - plus you can watch a video demonstration!
- London Elects Factsheet 7: Ecounting in the London Elections 
Useful Background Reading for Observers
- Open Rights Group eVoting Briefing Pack 
- Open Rights Group May 2007 Election Report 
- OSCE ODIHR Election Observation Handbook, 5th Ed 
- Electoral Commission/ London Elects Handbook for polling station staff 
- United Nations Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct For International Election Observers 
- Handbook for European Union Election Observation Missions 
- Vollan, Kåre, Observing Electronic Voting 
- The Carter Center, Developing a Methodology for Observing Electronic Voting 
- Krimmer, Rober & Volkamer, Melanie, Observing Threats to Voter’s Anonymity: Election Observation of Electronic Voting 
29 April: Electronic Counting briefing
- The Queens Walk
- London SE1 2AA
Please note location change to:
- Mothers Union Enterprises Ltd
- Mary Sumner House
- 24 Tufton Street
- SW1P 3RB
- Phone: 020 7222 5533
Post-briefing briefing for ORG observers will be at 17:30 at The Harp, 47 Chandos Place, London, WC2N 4HS. 
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 
Lists of polling places
Below are links to pages listing all polling places in various areas:
- polling stations Barking & Dagenham
- polling stations Barnet
- polling stations Bexley
- polling stations Brent
- polling stations Bromley
- polling stations Camden
- polling stations City of London
- polling stations Croydon
- polling stations Ealing
- polling stations Enfield
- polling stations Greenwich
- polling stations Hackney
- polling stations Hammersmith & Fulham
- polling stations Haringey
- polling stations Harrow
- polling stations Havering
- polling stations Hillingdon
- polling stations Hounslow
- polling stations Islington
- polling stations Kensington & Chelsea
- polling stations Kingston
- polling stations Lambeth
- polling stations Lewisham
- polling stations Merton
- polling stations Newham
- polling stations Redbridge
- polling stations Richmond
- polling stations Southwark
- polling stations Sutton
- polling stations Tower Hamlets
- polling stations Waltham Forest
- polling stations Wandsworth
- polling stations Westminster
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
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.
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) 
- Continuation paper 
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.
- 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 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.