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Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962

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Preliminary proceedings and conduct of the countN.I.

45(1)Before the returning officer proceeds to count the votes, he shall—

(a)in the presence of the counting agents open each ballot box and, taking out the ballot papers in it, count and record the number of them and in the presence of the election agents verify each ballot paper account;

(b)count such of the postal ballot papers as have been duly returned and record the number counted; and

(c)then mix together the whole of the ballot papers mentioned in the foregoing sub-paragraphs.

(2)A postal ballot paper shall not be deemed to be duly returned unless

[F1(a)it is returned in the proper envelope so as to reach the returning officer before the close of the poll and is accompanied by the declaration of identity duly signed and authenticated, and

(b)in the case of an elector, that declaration of identity states the date of birth of the elector and the returning officer is satisfied that the date corresponds with the date supplied as the date of the elector's birth pursuant to section 10(4A)(b), 10A(1A)(b) or section 13A(2A)(b) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as applied by Schedule 1 to the Elected Authorities (Northern Ireland) Act 1989).]

[F1(2A)In the case of an elector, unless section 10(4B), 10A(1B) or 13A(2B) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as applied by Schedule 1 to the Elected Authorities (Northern Ireland) Act 1989) applies, the declaration of identity referred to in paragraph (2) shall be taken not to be duly signed unless the returning officer is satisfied that the signature on the declaration corresponds with the signature supplied as the elector's signature pursuant to section 10(4A)(a), 10A(1A)(a) or 13A(2A)(a) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as so applied)]

(3)The returning officer shall not count any tendered ballot paper.

(4)The returning officer, while counting and recording the number of ballot papers and counting the votes, shall keep the ballot papers with their faces upwards and take all proper precautions for preventing any person from seeing the numbers printed on the back of the papers.

(5)The returning officer shall verify each ballot paper account by comparing it with the number of ballot papers recorded by him, and the unused and spoilt ballot papers in his possession and the tendered votes list (opening and resealing the packets containing the unused and spoilt ballot papers and the tendered votes list) and shall draw up a statement as to the result of the verification, which any election agent may copy.

(6)The returning officer shall so far as practicable proceed continuously with counting the votes, allowing only time for refreshment and excluding (except so far as he and the agents otherwise agree) the hours between 11 in the evening and 9 on the following morning.

For the purposes of this exception the agreement of a candidate or his election agent shall be as effective as the agreement of his counting agents.

(7)During the time so excluded the returning officer shall—

(a)place the ballot papers and other documents relating to the election under his own seal and the seals of such of the counting agents as desire to affix their seals; and

(b)otherwise take proper precautions for the security of the papers and documents.

F1SI 2002/2835

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