This is the first UK-wide referendum to be counted overnight. Neither of the two previous UK-wide referendums provide much in the way of helpful precedent on when we will know whether the UK and Gibraltar electorate have voted to leave or remain part of the EU. It’s a safe assumption that it will be a long night for all involved.
This blog post explains what to expect on the night of the count on the 23/24 June. More detail is available in Library briefing 7588 – EU referendum – the count.
Although much of the counting process will be similar to general election counts there are some parts of the process that will be less familiar, and different terminology like ‘regional counts’, ‘counting areas’ and ‘counting officers’.
The statutory rules that have to be followed when handling ballot papers at polling stations and postal ballots and the processes to be followed at count venues are very similar to general elections. These are designed to ensure the guiding principles of UK elections and referendums are adhered to:
- ensuring a result is declared swiftly and accurately,
- the number of ballots received at the count tallies with the number of ballots sent out to polling station,
- the counting process is legal and impartial, and
- voter secrecy is maintained.