General Election - Returning officer for Sleaford and North Hykeham pays tribute to professionalism of teams in pulling off a smooth polling process under pressure

Returning Officer Ian Fytche.
Returning Officer Ian Fytche.

The Returning Officer for Sleaford and North Hykeham, Ian Fytche, has paid tribute to the professionalism of his team for pulling off a smooth election process under pressure within a tight time scale in the run up to Christmas.

Mr Fytche, who is chief executive of North Kesteven District Council, said: "It has been a very smooth process with virtually no issues of any kind. From my perspective it has been calm and well managed by the whole team and they have given really clear advice to candidates and agents which some have remarked upon.

"It comes at a time when, as a district council, it is a very busy period in terms of service delivery, the preparation of our priorities and budgets for next year and additional responses to flooding in the district, but the council has managed to create the capacity to do this election and that is down to the hard work and professionalism of our team in recruiting all the contractors to do the job and they deserve a huge amount of credit for having pulled that off."

He said there were extra challenges with running a general election in December due to the darker, shorter days and the cold and ice, but he said they have had plans in place and have made sure all venues have been properly heated.

He estimated a turnout of around 70 per cent, which he felt was encouraging despite the wet and windy weather today, saying that people recognised the importance in exercising their democratic right to vote.

There had been reports of people queuing at polling stations in some parts of the district, waiting their turn to vote at peak times and Mr Fytche said that was not down to the capacity of the venues but simply the great turn out.

He commented: "We have had an increase in voter registration in the weeks leading up to the deadline. We would encourage everyone to be registered to vote and will continue to campaign on that issue."