Electoral (Amendment) Act 2004
Preliminary proceedings and time for counting of votes.
13. —(1) Following the closing of the poll, the returning officer or local returning officer, at the place appointed under the relevant Act or Regulations, shall, unless circumstances arise that render it impracticable at that time to do so, proceed with the counting of the votes, in the presence of agents, as the cartridges or discs referred to in sections 11 and 12 are received at the count centre. If circumstances as aforesaid arise, the returning officer or local returning officer shall, upon those circumstances ceasing to exist, proceed with the counting of the votes in the manner aforesaid.
(2) Immediately on receipt of the cartridges or discs from the various polling stations, including the cartridge or disc containing the votes of postal and special voters, the returning officer or local returning officer in the presence of the agents shall insert each cartridge or disc in an apparatus provided in the constituency or local electoral area concerned for the purpose of counting the votes entered in the voting machines in the various polling stations in that constituency or local electoral area (in this Part referred to as a “constituency vote counting machine”).
(3) The returning officer or local returning officer shall compare the number of votes shown on the constituency vote counting machine in respect of each cartridge or disc from a voting machine with the number of votes recorded on the statements prepared pursuant to sections 11 and 12 in respect of each machine and shall prepare a statement showing the result of this comparison in respect of all the voting machines. The returning officer or local returning officer shall, on request, allow an agent to be present at that procedure and shall on request provide a copy of the second-mentioned statement to any agent.
(4) When the cartridges or discs are received from all the voting machines for the constituency or local electoral area and are dealt with in accordance with subsection (2), the returning officer or local returning officer shall cause the constituency vote counting machine to mix the votes recorded in all the cartridges or discs inserted on the said machine, to create a table of the mixed votes which shall be numbered in consecutive order, the number “1” being assigned to the vote placed highest in the table, the number “2” being assigned to the vote placed next highest in the table and so on, and to proceed to cause the said machine to count the votes in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Act or Regulations and this Act.
(5) Where more than one poll, including a referendum, is held on the same polling day, the provisions of section 165 of the Act of 1992 as modified by Part 3 of the Act of 2001 shall apply.