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Counting is all set to resume today

A general view of staff at the King's Hall, Belfast, during counting for Northern Ireland's three seats in the European Parliamentary elections

A general view of staff at the King's Hall, Belfast, during counting for Northern Ireland's three seats in the European Parliamentary elections

The distribution of Mrs Anderson’s surplus votes got underway yesterday evening.

But with the counting of ballot papers still going on after 10pm, chief electoral officer Graham Shields told the News Letter that it would not be feasible to complete the entire exercise before the night was out.

Officials had predicted that, after 11pm, at least another eight hours would be needed to complete it.

At time of writing, the only candidate who had officially been deemed elected was Martina Anderson.

She reached the required quota of first preference votes which meant that she was automatically accorded a seat, without the need to rely on any secondary votes.

The ballot papers are being tallied using a method known as the single transferable vote (STV).

Mr Shields said the particular way the count had developed, with the requirement to recount all Mrs Anderson’s ballots in order to distribute her surplus, had not been anticipated.

He insisted lack of counting staff was not the issue, noting that 270 had been employed to conduct it.

“We knew we were here for a long day and we potentially expected to be here if we needed to be into the early hours of the morning but I don’t think anybody could have reasonably foreseen that a count would have run into two days, for 24 hours,” he said.

Mr Shields said it underlined the need for electronic vote counting in the Province.

“The electronic counting process, in my opinion, is an absolute necessity for going forward because none of us want to be here for days on end.”

 

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