While researching the possibility of votes going uncounted in Queen’s Park ward I’ve discovered many interesting pieces of information. Well, I fiund them interesting anyway. Want to know how your votes are processed after you have mailing them of pushed them into those little black boxes at the polling station? Read more….

Here’s the process vote counting the votes as outlined by Matthew Mannion from Brent Council Democratic Services department.

Wednesday: All the postal vote that had already come in were sorted into wards, checked for validity (i.e. did they contain a ballot paper & declaration). We then totted up the number for each ward (they aren’t ‘counted’ at this stage simply organised into wards).

Thursday: The postal votes that come in on Thursday go through the above process; that starts at 9pm, and, as more came in from the polling stations they were added.

For the first round of wards: First each box was counted to ensure that the number of ballot papers inside it was what was expected (i.e what the presiding officer at that polling station told us it was). Once confirmed, the papers are counted into unsorted bundles and placed in the ‘mixing’ bowl.

Here is a picture of the ballot boxes ‘backstage’ at the count.

The total number of postal votes received from the postal vote checks are also counted to ensure they are as expected too. Once all the boxes have been checked and the papers are in the mixing bowl, the papers are mixed up so that no one can tell which polling station they came from and then dished out to the counters to separate into piles for the different parties and a mixed pile.

Whilst they are doing this they take out any papers that they aren’t sure about (i.e. that are likely to be spoilt) for the returning officer to check later. Straight party votes are counted into bundles of 50 and put on the centre table. The mixed votes are counted onto a mix sheet (as you no doubt saw). The totals from this are then added to the totals from the straight votes.

The totals created and checked then the agents are called in to see if they are happy or want a recount. At this point the returning officer goes through the spoilt votes to say why they are being rejected.

The results are then declared.