The European Union Referendum Bill 2015 provides for a referendum to be held on the UK’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017.
The European Union Referendum Bill 2015 provides for a referendum to be held on the UK’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017. At the time of this consultation, the Bill is being considered by the UK Parliament and the date of the referendum is not known.
The Chair of the Electoral Commission, Jenny Watson, will be the Chief 1.2Counting Officer (CCO) for the referendum. Votes will be counted by local Counting Officers (COs) and local totals reported to the CCO. The CCO will be responsible for certifying the total number of ballot papers counted and the total number of votes cast for each answer. The declaration of the referendum result will be made by the CCO after all the local totals from across the UK and Gibraltar have been received and verified.
When should the count take place?
The CCO therefore wants to consult now on her proposed approach to the timing of the count at the referendum, with a view to confirming her intention in November 2015.
The CCO intends to direct COs to commence the verification and counting of votes at the referendum as soon as reasonably practicable after the close of the poll.
For the avoidance of doubt, this would mean that the count processes must be carried out overnight, commencing at the close of poll.
Full details of the consultation are available in the EU referendum - consultation on the timing of vote counting documents.
How to respond
The CCO would like to hear views from people with an interest in the timing of the referendum count. The CCO would particularly welcome views from:
- People who will take part as voters in the referendum
- Those who may campaign in the referendum, including elected representatives, political parties and campaign organisations
- Broadcasters and media organisations who may cover the referendum result
Comments can be sent by email to ReferendumDirections@electoralcommission.org.uk or by post to:
EU Referendum consultation
The Electoral Commission
3 Bunhil Row