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Electoral Commission Committee written question – answered on 5th January 2010.

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Photo of Eric Pickles Eric Pickles Party Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the hon. Member for South-West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has issued on when electoral returning officers should commence general election counts.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has written to all Returning Officers, advising that it is entirely appropriate for them, as independent statutory officers, to decide to hold the count on Friday if they are clear that this is necessary to ensure an accurate result. Returning Officers have also been advised to consider any relevant local factors, such as geography, availability of staff and venues, the security of the ballot boxes and the volume and management of postal votes as part of the decision-making process. The next general election will, for example, be the first general election at which new security checks on postal votes will need to be conducted, and this will introduce an additional stage in the process.

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