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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Sections 128 and 129 : Conduct of referendums

224.Section 128 makes arrangements for the counting of votes in a referendum. The section designates the Chairman of the Electoral Commission as the Chief Counting Officer in any referendum to which Part VII applies (save in the case of a referendum held in Northern Ireland only where the Chief Electoral Officer is designated the Chief Counting Officer). The Chief Counting Officer is required to appoint a counting officer for each relevant local government area in Great Britain (the Chief Electoral Officer will be the counting officer in Northern Ireland) who will be responsible for certifying the result in that area before the result as a whole is certified by the Chief Counting Officer. Section  129 confers a power on the Secretary of State to make provision, by order, for regulating the conduct of referendums. Such an order may, in particular, create criminal offences and apply, with modifications, the provision of other enactments. The intention is to use the order-making power to apply those provisions of the Representation of the People Acts and Regulations that relate to the administration of a referendum poll (polling hours; arrangements for postal and absent voting; issue of polling cards etc.).

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