As I sit here in my dark office, the only light coming from the 21″ computer screen in front of me – while typing here and watching BBC News Channel on the computer – I have a confession to make.
I love election night – the banter as presenters fill lulls between counts, the graphics, the numbers, the statistics, the attempts at filling with pointless stories – I love it all.
It doesn’t matter whether it is the English Local elections, the Scottish and Welsh Elections, Parliamentary Elections, the USA Presidential elections – the bloody French presidential elections even!
It’s all fun – I split my time evenly between online and TV – I pick one network for each and stick with them (more or less) for the night.
I will switch around a little to see what the others are doing – but for the majority of the time I’ll stay in that one place (oh with the odd blog or tweet thrown in).
I’ve decided I’ll be giving the BBC a clean sweep for the USA Election – spending my online time at bbc.co.uk and my TV time on BBC One.
But what’s better than actually watching a live election night is covering one – albeit on a much smaller scale.
Most of you know my job and one aspect of that job is covering election nights - online.
Jersey has its own parliament – made up of 53 members (12 Constables, 12 Senators and 29 Deputies) and, after a few fudged reforms, now elections ‘most’ of those 53 within a month or so of each other.
We’ve just had an election for six of the twelve Senators (elected for a six year term with six elected every three years) and nine of the twelve Constables (three year term but three still had time to run and will now be in office until October 2011) although some we’re elected un-opposed.
Election night is electric – in the radio studio, also known as a slightly re-arranged office space to fit everybody in – things are great fun.
We have the radio team of presenter Roger Bara, expert Adrian Lee and at least one, but probably more commentators (often current or past States Members), Editor Denzil Dudley acting as Executive Produce and collating all the results from around the island for the radio team (and occasionally talking numbers on air in a Jeremy Vine/John Snow type way) and finally the web team – me and Ben Chapple from Guernsey.
We sit in the far corner writing our live election blog and updating results as they come in (we don’t have access to any scripting to have to re-type the results in multiple places) and making sure we collate the results (as for Senators it is the six with the most votes overall that get elected).
We’re also printing out the comments that come in for the radio team to read out during those ‘lulls’ and publishing them as part of our live text stream.
Then there are the twelve reporters at each Parish Hall around the island to broadcast the declerations as they come in.
The next election is the Deputies at the end of November but that one is a LOT easier as there is no overall figure needed – it works much more like the UK MP elections – you vote in your district, the one with the most votes goes in.
So I’m now going to get the kids to bed, have a shower, make dinner, watch the episode of Spooks from BBC Three I missed (on Sky+) and then settle down for a night of numbers!