Electoral Act, 1963

Amendment of Rules 29 to 33 of Part I of Fifth Schedule to Principal Act.

41.—(1) The following Rules are hereby substituted for Rules 29 to 33 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the Principal Act:

Candidates' agents.

“29. The candidates may respectively appoint agents to attend the counting of the votes and the name and address of every agent so appointed shall be transmitted to the returning officer two clear days at least before the polling day. Not more than five agents shall be appointed by a candidate unless the returning officer otherwise permits.

Arrangements for counting of votes.

30. (1) The returning officer shall provide suitable accommodation and all equipment necessary for counting the votes and shall count the votes at a place within the constituency, but—

(a) in case the constituency consists of a part which is part of a county borough and a part which is outside that borough, the returning officer may provide the accommodation and equipment and count the votes—

(i) at a place within the other part of that borough, or

(ii) with the consent of the Minister, at a place outside that borough and outside, but convenient to, the constituency,

(b) in any other case, the returning officer may, with the consent of the Minister, provide the accommodation and equipment and count the votes at a place outside, but convenient to, the constituency.

(2) One clear day at least before the day fixed for the commencement of the poll the returning officer shall give to the election agent of each candidate notice in writing of the place at which he will count the votes. He shall give the agents of candidates all such reasonable facilities for overseeing the proceedings at the count (including, in particular, facilities for satisfying themselves that the ballot papers are correctly sorted), and all such information with respect thereto, as he can give them consistently with the orderly conduct of the proceedings and the performance of his functions.

Persons to be present at counting.

31. The returning officer, his assistants and clerks, members of the Garda Síochána on duty, and the agents of the candidates whose names and addresses have been given to the returning officer under Rule 29 hereof, and no other person, except with the permission of the returning officer, may be present at the counting of the votes.

Opening of ballot boxes

32. At the hour of 9 a.m. on the day after the close of the poll and at the place for the counting of the votes, the returning officer shall, in the presence of the agents of the candidates, open the ballot boxes, count and record the number of ballot papers therein and proceed to verify the ballot paper account accompanying each ballot box. He shall then mix together the whole of the ballot papers contained in the ballot boxes. The returning officer, while counting and recording the number of ballot papers, shall keep the ballot papers with their faces upwards and shall take all proper precautions for preventing any person from seeing the numbers printed on the backs of such papers.

Counting of votes.

33. After compliance with Rule 32 hereof the returning officer shall forthwith begin to count the votes and shall, so far as practicable, proceed continuously with the counting of the votes allowing only time for refreshment, and excluding (except so far as he and the candidates otherwise agree) the hours between 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. on the succeeding morning. During the excluded time the returning officer shall place the ballot boxes and documents relating to the election under his own seal and shall take proper precautions for the security of such boxes and documents.”

(2) Paragraph (1) of Rule 2 of the Fourth Schedule to the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion of “members of the Garda Síochána on duty,” before “the election agent of each candidate”.