- Draft legislation
This is a draft item of legislation. This draft has since been made as a UK Statutory Instrument: The Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2007 No. 2089
12. (1) The counting officer must publish notice of the poll stating—
(a)the day and hours fixed for the poll, and
(b)the question to be asked in the referendum.
(2) The notice of the poll must be published no later than the sixth day before the date of the referendum.
(3) The counting officer must, not later than the time of the publication of the notice of the poll, also give public notice of—
(a)the situation of each polling station; and
(b)the description of persons entitled to vote there.
13. (1) The counting officer must, in accordance with regulations made under the 1983 Act,(1) issue to those entitled to vote by post a ballot paper and a postal voting statement in the appropriate form in the Appendix, or a form to like effect, together with such envelopes for their return as may be prescribed by such regulations.
(2) The counting officer must also issue to those entitled to vote by post such information as he thinks appropriate about how to obtain—
(a)translations into languages other than English of any directions to or guidance for voters and proxies sent with the ballot paper;
(b)a translation into Braille of such directions or guidance;
(c)graphical representations of such directions or guidance;
(d)the directions or guidance in any other form (including any audible form).
(3) The postal voting statement must include provision for the form to be signed and for stating the date of birth of the voter or proxy.
(4) In the case of a ballot paper issued to a person at an address in the United Kingdom, the counting officer must ensure that the return of the ballot paper and postal voting statement is free of charge to the voter or proxy.
14. (1) The counting officer must provide a sufficient number of polling stations and, subject to the following provisions of this rule, must allot the voters to the polling stations in such manner as he thinks most convenient.
(2) One or more polling stations may be provided in the same room.
(3) The polling station allotted to voters from any parliamentary polling district wholly or partly within the voting area must, in the absence of special circumstances, be in the parliamentary polling place for that district.
(4) The counting officer must provide each polling station with such number of compartments as may be necessary in which the voters and proxies can mark their votes screened from observation.
15. (1) The counting officer must appoint and pay a presiding officer to attend at each polling station and such clerks as may be necessary for the purposes of the referendum.
(2) The counting officer may, if he thinks fit, preside at a polling station and the provisions of these Rules relating to a presiding officer shall apply to a counting officer so presiding with the necessary modifications as to things to be done by the counting officer to the presiding officer or by the presiding officer to the counting officer.
(3) A presiding officer may do, by the clerks appointed to assist him, any act (including the asking of questions) which he is required or authorised by these Rules to do at a polling station except order the arrest, exclusion or removal of any person from the polling station.
16. (1) The counting officer must as soon as practicable after the publication of the notice of the referendum send to each voter and proxy an official poll card.
(2) The official poll card must be sent or delivered—
(a)in the case of a voter, to his qualifying address, and
(b)in the case of a proxy, to his address as shown in the list of proxies.
(3) The official poll card must be in the appropriate form in the Appendix, or a form to the like effect, and must set out—
(a)the name of the council and of the voting area;
(b)the name of the voter, his qualifying address and number on the register;
(c)the date and hours of the poll and the situation of the voter’s polling station;
(d)such other information as the counting officer thinks appropriate,
and different information may be provided in pursuance of sub-paragraph (d) to different voters or to different descriptions of voter
(4) In the case of a voter who has an anonymous entry in the register, instead of containing the matter mentioned in paragraph (3)(b), the poll card must contain such matter as is specified in the appropriate form in the Appendix.
(5) In this rule references to a voter—
(a)are to a person who is registered in the register of local government electors for the voting area in question on the last day for the publication of notice of the referendum; and
(b)include a person then shown in the register as below voting age if (but only if) it appears from the register that he will be of voting age on the day fixed for the poll.
17. (1) The counting officer must provide each presiding officer with such number of ballot boxes and ballot papers as in the counting officer’s opinion may be necessary.
(2) Every ballot box must be so constructed that the ballot papers can be put in it, but cannot be withdrawn from it, without the box being unlocked or, where the box has no lock, the seal being broken.
(3) The counting officer must provide each polling station with—
(a)materials to enable voters and proxies to mark the ballot papers;
(b)copies of the register of electors for the voting area or such part of it as contains the names of the voters allotted to the station;
(c)the parts of any special lists prepared for the referendum corresponding to the register of electors for the voting area or the part of it provided under sub-paragraph (b);
(d)a list consisting of that part of the list prepared under rule 8 which contains the numbers (but not the other unique identifying marks) corresponding to those on the ballot papers provided to the presiding officer of the polling station.
(4) The reference in paragraph (3)(b) to the copies of the register of electors includes a reference to copies of any notices issued under section 13B(3B) or (3D) of the 1983 Act(2) in respect of alterations to the register.
(5) The counting officer must also provide each polling station with—
(a)at least one large version of the ballot paper which must be displayed inside the polling station for the assistance of voters and proxies who are partially sighted; and
(b)a device of such description as is set out in paragraph (9) for enabling voters and proxies who are blind or partially sighted to vote without any need for assistance from the presiding officer or any companion (within the meaning of rule 28(1)).
(6) A notice in the form in the Appendix, giving directions for the guidance of voters and proxies in voting, must be printed in conspicuous characters and exhibited inside and outside every polling station.
(7) The counting officer may also provide copies of the notice mentioned in paragraph (6) in Braille or translated into languages other than English as he considers appropriate, provided that these notices are accurate reproductions in Braille or that other language of that notice.
(8) In every compartment of every polling station there must be exhibited the notice “[Specify name of council ….] REFERENDUM. Mark a cross (X) in the box on the right hand side of the answer of your choice. Vote ONCE only. Put no other mark on the ballot paper, or your vote may not be counted.”.
(9) The device referred to in paragraph (5)(b) must—
(a)allow a ballot paper to be inserted into and removed from, or attached to and detached from, the device easily and without damage to the paper;
(b)hold the ballot paper firmly in place during use; and
(c)provide suitable means for the voter or proxy to—
(i)identify the spaces on the ballot paper on which he may mark his vote;
(ii)identify the answer to which each such space refers; and
(iii)mark his vote on the space he has chosen.
18. (1) The counting officer may appoint persons to attend at polling stations for the purpose of detecting personation (“polling observers”).
(2) The counting officer must appoint persons to observe the counting of the votes and the verification of the ballot paper account (“counting observers”).
(3) For the purpose of assisting the counting officer in the discharge of his functions under paragraph (2), a petition organiser may nominate persons who in the opinion of the petition organiser are suitable for appointment as counting observers.
(4) A nomination under paragraph (3) must be made by notice in writing to the counting officer not later than the fifth day before the poll (disregarding any day which is to be disregarded by virtue of rule 4) and the notice must contain the address of each nominee.
(5) Subject to paragraph (6), the counting officer must not, without good cause, decline to appoint as a counting observer a person nominated by a petition organiser under paragraph (3).
(6) The counting officer may limit the number of counting observers, so however that—
(a)the number must be the same in the case of each petition organiser, and
(b)the number allowed to a petition organiser must not (except in special circumstances) be fewer than the number obtained by dividing the number of clerks employed on the counting by the number of petition organisers.
For the purposes of the calculations required by this paragraph, a counting observer who has been appointed on the nomination of more than one petition organiser is a separate counting observer for each of the petition organisers by whom he has been nominated.
(7) Where a counting observer appointed on the nomination of a petition organiser dies or becomes incapable of acting, the petition organiser who made the nomination may nominate another person to be appointed as a counting observer in his place by giving notice in writing to the counting officer.
(8) Paragraphs (4) and (5) apply to a nomination under paragraph (7), with the substitution in paragraph (4) for “fifth day” of “final day”.
(9) In the following provisions of these Rules references to polling observers and counting observers shall be taken as references to polling observers and counting observers whose appointments have been duly made.
(10) Any notice required to be given by the counting officer to a counting observer appointed on the nomination of a petition organiser may be delivered at, or sent by post to, the address stated in the notice of nomination.
(11) A petition organiser may himself do any act or thing which any counting observer is authorised to do, or may assist any counting observer appointed on his nomination in doing any such act or thing.
(12) Where by these Rules any act or thing is required or authorised to be done in the presence of the polling observers or counting observers, the non-attendance of any such person at the time and place appointed for the purpose shall not, if the act or thing is otherwise duly done, invalidate the act or thing done.
19. The counting officer must make such arrangements as he thinks fit to ensure that—
(a)every person attending at a polling station (otherwise than for the purpose of voting or assisting a voter or proxy with disabilities to vote or as a constable on duty there) has been given a copy in writing of the provisions of subsections (1), (3) and (6) of section 66 of the 1983 Act,(3) as applied by Schedule 4; and
(b)every person attending at the counting of the votes (other than any constable on duty at the counting) has been given a copy in writing of the provisions of subsections (2) and (6) of that section, as applied by Schedule 4.
20. (1) Where—
(a)a postal vote has been returned in respect of a person who is entered on the postal voters list, or
(b)a proxy postal vote has been returned in respect of a proxy who is entered on the proxy postal voters list,
the counting officer must mark the list in the manner prescribed by regulations made under the 1983 Act.(4)
(2) Rule 36(3) does not apply for the purpose of determining whether, for the purposes of this rule, a postal vote or a proxy postal vote is returned.
Section 13B of the 1983 Act was inserted by paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to the Representation of the People Act 2000 (c.2) and amended by section 11(3) of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (c.22). Subsections (3B) and (3D) of section 13B were inserted by section 11(4) of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (c.22).
Subsections (1), (2) and (3) of section 66 of the 1983 Act were amended by paragraphs 69, 82, 86(b) and 96 of Schedule 1 to the Electoral Administration Act 2006 (c.22); subsection (6) was amended by paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the Representation of the People Act 1985 (c.50).
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