Counting of votes for each constituency is conducted under the supervision of the Returning Officer for that constituency. The counting procedure is as follows:
- Once the ballot boxes have been received at the counting centre from all polling stations in the constituency, counting can commence;
- Each ballot box is counted individually, in polling station number order;
- The seals on the ballot box are verified and cut;
- All ballot papers from the ballot box are removed and the empty box is presented for inspection by counting agents and observers;
- Ballot papers are counted, but not inspected, and the total number of ballot papers removed from the ballot box is recorded on the Ballot Paper Count form;
- Ballot papers are then sorted according to candidate, with rejected ballot papers sorted according to the reason for which they were rejected. A Returning Officer must reject a ballot paper if it:
- is missing the official mark; or
- contains writing or a mark by which an elector might be identified; or
- is informal;
- the number of votes for each candidate, and the number of rejected ballot papers, is recorded on the Ballot Paper Count form;
- A fresh count of all ballot papers removed from the ballot box is undertaken, and any error in the count is corrected, after which the Returning Officer completes and signs the Ballot Paper Count form. The form may be countersigned by an Assistant Returning Officer or public officer present, and the details of the count copied by any candidate or counting agent present;
- All counted ballot papers are then sealed and returned to the ballot box from which they came;
- The Returning Officer verifies the ballot paper count from that ballot box with the Presiding Officer’s Ballot Paper Account.
Once the Returning Officer has completed the counting and verification process, the Returning Officer must declare to be elected the candidate for whom the most number of votes has been cast.