Many questions have been asked about how the ballot papers will be counted on polling night.

The ballot papers will be hand sorted.

First they will be sorted to first preferences.

For example, the candidates below have received the following 1st preferences.

JOHN 200
MARK 500
ANNE 600


The counting team will then take the 200 ballot papers of John’s and look to see what preference numbers were given to David. After sorting there were twenty 2nd preferences for David and thirty 3rd preferences and forty 4th preferences etc.

2nd Pref 3rd Pref 4th Pref 5th Pref 6th Pref
20 30 40 50 60


Then the counting team will take all the 300 ballot papers of Julie’s to see what preference numbers were given to David.

2nd Pref 3rd Pref 4th Pref 5th Pref 6th Pref
40 50 60 70 80


And so on until all preferences for David have been tallied.

Once all of the preferences have been tallied they are divided by that preference.

Eg – The 40 second preferences are divided by 2 which equals 20 points

The 50 third preferences are divided by 3 which equals 16.666 points

These points are added to the candidate’s first preferences to give the total number of points for the election.   The candidates with the most points are successful, depending on how many vacancies there are in that constituency.

The counting team will then move to the next candidate – John and find all the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc preferences for John.

The preferences for each candidate is processed in this manner until the final result is known.

Releasing partial results is not possible as it will always show the candidates that have been tallied as winning.   The whole count must be completed before results are released.

The results will be recorded on paper before they are entered into the computer.

After the election, the Electoral Commission will release all counting sheets for examination.

A sample excel counting sheet has been provided so that voters and candidates can examine the method and inspect the formulas within the sheet.

The Electoral Commission hopes that this will assist voters in understanding and trusting the process with this greater transparency of the counting process. Dowdell Borda Counting Method for internet spreadsheet