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Elections Act 2001


Northern Ireland: Modification of Election Provisions

38.The following paragraphs of the Schedule amend the parliamentary elections rules (as set out in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983) and the local elections rules (as set out in Schedule 5 to the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962) in the event of a parliamentary election being combined with a local election. These amendments ensure that necessary measures are taken to differentiate between the two elections and that procedures allow for the combination of two polls.

39.The ballot papers for each election must be of a different colour to those used at another election being held at the same time. This includes the requirement that the colour of the ballot papers must be different to the colour of the tendered ballot papers (paragraphs 2 and 15).

40.The publication of notice of a combined election shall state that the poll for that election will be taken together with the poll for another election (paragraph 3 and 16). In the event of a combined election, the returning officer (i.e. the Chief Electoral Officer) may choose to issue just one poll card, rather than issuing separate poll cards for each election (paragraphs 4 and 18).

41.Information posters indicating the manner of voting at each election must be located prominently in the polling station and they must be colour-coded to relate to the appropriate ballot paper (paragraphs 5 and 19).

42.The statutory questions which may be put to confirm the identity of voters at the polling station are to be modified so that separate questions must be asked in respect of each election (paragraphs 6 and 20).

43.The presiding officer may use a single copy of the electoral register for both elections, rather than one for each; marking the register must be as usual for those who are given ballot papers for both elections, but if a voter takes only one ballot paper, the register is marked to indicate the election to which that ballot paper related (paragraphs 7 and 21). Likewise, the list of people whose votes are marked by the presiding officer, the list of people with disabilities who are given assistance at the ballot box and the list of people who receive a tendered ballot paper must also be marked in a way which either indicates that the voter voted in both elections or denotes the one election in which the voter voted (paragraphs 8-10 and 22-24).

44.The presiding officer’s tasks at the close of the poll (namely, drawing up the ballot paper accounts and packaging up the spoilt and unused ballot papers, tendered ballot papers and ballot paper counterfoils) are amended to indicate that each task has to be done separately in respect of each election (paragraphs 11 and 25).

45.The local election count must take place on the morning of the second day after the poll, excepting weekends and bank holidays, to give time for the parliamentary count to take place (paragraph 26). Before the start of the parliamentary count, the ballot boxes for both elections must be opened and any parliamentary ballot papers removed from the local election ballot boxes and any local election ballot papers removed from the parliamentary ballot boxes (paragraphs 12 and 27).

46.The rules governing the countermand or abandonment of the poll on the death of a candidate are modified so that they relate only to the relevant election at a combined poll. The death of a candidate in one election does not therefore affect the continuation of the other election. The rules governing the tasks of the returning officer in the event of the death of a candidate are also amended so that the one election may not be affected by the abandonment or countermand of the other (paragraphs 13 and 28).

47.New forms are also introduced for Declarations of Identity in the event of a combined poll. (paragraphs 30(4) and 31).

48.Part IV (paragraphs 32-34) specifies the powers by which the amendments contained in this Schedule may be replaced or modified.

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