The verification process is the counting of the total number of ballots cast in each election. This stage must be completed before a count can commence.
This is when the ballots are sorted into piles by candidate, and then we count the number of ballots in each pile.
The returning officer then declares the Norwich results.
Sorting and counting process
The ballot boxes containing the verified votes will be emptied onto the counting tables.
Ballot papers will be sorted into candidates and are counted into bundles of a determined amount (10 or 20 usually). A coloured identification slip for each party / independent will be placed on top of each bundle (ie blue – Conservative; green – Green; red – Labour; yellow – Liberal Democrats; white – Independent).
These will then be passed to the count supervisors who will ‘flick check’ to ensure they are correct and then place in bundles of 100.
If there is less than the determined amount in the last bundle these will be counted, and the amount written on the coloured slip.
Any doubtful or spoilt ballot papers will be put to one side and adjudicated in the presence of candidates and agents.
At the briefing for candidates and agents it was agreed with the returning officer that, following legal precedence and Electoral Commission advice, any ballot paper clearly marked in the box against a candidate will be counted at the table and will not need go through the doubtful vote procedure even if that mark is not a cross (ie. as long as there is a clear mark against a candidate including a tick, this is acceptable).
Once all votes have been sorted and the bundles and piles have been ‘flick checked’, the top table will check that the totals match the verification figures.
Once the totals have been cleared by the top table the returning officer will advise the candidates and agents of the outcome before the result is formally declared.
If the returning officer decides a recount is appropriate, they will announce the process to be followed.