174C Preliminary count of early votes

(1)

In this section and in sections 174D to 174G, early votes means special votes that—

(a)

are delivered or sent to the Returning Officer on or before polling day; and

(b)

were, in accordance with regulations made under this Act, issued in substantially the same manner as ordinary ballot papers are issued under section 167.

(2)

The Returning Officer must, in the presence of any scrutineers appointed under section 174F and any of the Returning Officer’s assistants, but of no other person, conduct (either manually or by electronic means), in accordance with this section, a preliminary count of early votes.

(3)

The Returning Officer must take the early votes and ascertain, as the case may require,—

(a)

the number of votes received by each party listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the party vote; or

(b)

the number of votes received by each candidate listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the electorate vote; or

(c)

both.

(4)

For the purposes of subsection (3), the Returning Officer must set aside as informal—

(a)

all party votes that do not clearly indicate the party for which the voter desired to vote:

(b)

all electorate votes that do not clearly indicate the candidate for whom the voter desired to vote.

(5)

A count under this section must be commenced,—

(a)

if an electoral district meets the conditions stated in section 174D(2), at a time (not earlier than 9 am on polling day) determined by the Electoral Commission; or

(b)

if those conditions are not met, as soon as practicable after the close of the poll.

(5A)

The Returning Officer must give notice in writing to each of the constituency candidates or their scrutineers of the time and place at which the preliminary count of early votes will commence.

(6)

If a referendum has, under any Act, been taken with the poll, the Returning Officer must ensure that the count, under this section, of party votes and electorate votes takes priority over the counting of the votes of the referendum.

Section 174C: inserted, on 28 February 2002, by section 67(1) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2002 (2002 No 1).

Section 174C(2): amended, on 21 March 2017, by section 82(1) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2017 (2017 No 9).

Section 174C(5)(a): replaced, on 21 March 2017, by section 82(2) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2017 (2017 No 9).

Section 174C(5)(b): amended, on 21 March 2017, by section 82(3) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2017 (2017 No 9).

Section 174C(5A): inserted, on 21 March 2017, by section 82(4) of the Electoral Amendment Act 2017 (2017 No 9).